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“Boy at the Window” by Richard Wilbur

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At the window – bored, daydreaming, attracted to something


Stanza 1 – The boy weeps because a snowman stands alone outside and is about to suffer through a harsh night.

Stanza 2 – The snowman does not want to go inside and melt, but he feels thankful for the boy’s worry of him.


Snowman – cold and hardened person-literally and emotionally

All alone – he is independent, yet lonely

More than he can bear – the man is suffering outside

Night of gnashings and enormous moan – sufferings for the man outside to face

Fearful sight – afraid of the stranger

Pale-faced figure – sickly

Bitumen – coal

God-forsaken stare – the man is sad and in pain

Outcast Adam gave to paradise – regretful he did not realize fortunes once possessed

Man of snow – the hardened and cold man

Content – takes responsibility for his own action, so he has nothing to complain about

No wish to go inside – man wants to stand up for his choices, and not take donations

Die – death of his self-esteem and morals

Moved to see the youngster cry – thankful for the uncalled for mercy and compassion

Frozen water – though once warm and flowing, now hard and frozen

Element – the man’s character and soul

Melts – heart softens

One soft eye – a rare warm, gentle area found with the man

Trickle – very little amount

Purest rain, a tear – though frozen, his soul still has the base-kindness

Bright pane – the separation between the two, why the man and boy are unlike

Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear – Though the innocent boy feels sorry for the man, he is still afraid of the stranger.

Attitude: Poet – positive attitude because uses the boy to show compassion no matter who is involved or in what situation. “To see the youngster cry” shows the true pity the boy feels for him.

Speaker – negative because the boy remained fearful like on line 5 where it talks about the boy’s “fearful sight” of the man who did not receive any shelter against the dangerous night.

Shifts: 1. Line 9. In the first stanza it seemed like the snowman wished to go inside the house, however in the beginning of the second stanza it says the snowman is content outside.

2. Line 14-15 – line 14 discusses the tears of the snowman, but in line 15 it switches back to the boy watching from inside the window

Title: Boy at the Window – the boy is comfortable inside while being protected by the window, which symbolizes all of the love he has. The love he receives separates him from the cold world outside and the people he feels sorry for in it.


Children do not judge who they give they’re compassion and mercy to

One should be responsible for his own choices and actions taken

Humans have a fear of the unknown, such as strangers

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