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Wyatt Prunty’s poem ”Elderly Lady Crossing on Green”

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 831
  • Category: Poems

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The title of Wyatt Pruntys poem, Elderly Lady Crossing on Green, describes the experience of a revengeful speaker. He tells how you should not to help that little old lady to cross the street. Then, he goes on to explain himself by saying that she used to be a nasty person who drove her car without any consideration for the pedestrians. In fact, she would have run you flat as paint / To make the light before it turned on her. Finally, the speaker shows explains the womans horrible personality by saying that she has been lonely and unloved all of her life.

In keeping with the speakers revengeful tone, the diction Prunty uses is related to these ideas of the old womans cruelty, because such words connote the speakers strong opinion of how horrible and low the old lady is. Rhyme, imagery, and point of view produce this effect. In the second stanza, the speaker describes the old womans viciousness in detail: She drove a loaded V8 poweglide And would have run you flat as paint To make the light before it turned on her, Make it as she watched you faint The loaded V8 powerglide that the lady drove is a symbol of her viciousness. The word powerglide gives the reader the sensation of a racecar while the word loaded reminds the reader of a gun. In fact, she uses her car to purposefully scare or hurt people. She makes people flat as paint or blown out like trash(line 12). These similes show that she has no consideration for others.

Later, in the third stanza, the metaphor of how she made you jaywalk to eternity supported this idea. She did these things watching the pedestrians (as she watched you faint, eyes locking you down(line 9)), which reveals that she inflicted pain on others purposefully. The onomatopoeia in the last stanza shes done a million times before supports this by saying that this type of behavior wasnt an accident for her; it was a daily event. The final metaphor in the last stanza (shes a small tug on the tidal swell) shows that the speaker feels that even though she thinks that shes very important (doing well), in reality shes nothing. The unconventional point of view of the speaker not to have pity for an elderly woman is supported in a conventional rhyme scheme. The first four stanzas have the second and fourth lines rhyme, while the last stanza has the first two and the last two lines rhyme. All these words complement the speakers revengeful tone.

There is a shift in the speakers imagery in the very first stanza. The title suggests that a little old lady is crossing the street and someone should help her do this. The first stanza, however, tells you that the speaker doesnt want anyone to help this old woman no matter how much help she needs. This thought shifts into an explanation at the end of the third line of the first stanza with a dash. The speaker then moves on to explain that his reason for not wanting to help this woman is because she was a careless creature in her youth. At the end of the first line of the fourth stanza, the speaker makes another shift. The speaker then explains why the woman was so mean. His reasoning is that she never had anyone to care for her or to care for (never widow, wife, mother, or a bride). He ends the poem by saying that she is nothing in this world (shes a small tug on the tidal swell), which further explains her unhappy and mean behavior, and that she behaves in this way to make herself feel like shes important or has some kind of power (her own sustaining notion that shes doing well).

If this poem is about anything, it is about how people should get what they deserve. If people are heartless to others in their youth, they should expect to be received that way when they become old. The speaker has a strong negative feeling against the elderly woman because he didnt forget the way that she treated others (and perhaps him as well) in her youth. He believes that she should get what she deserves despite the fact that she behaved so cruelly due to her lonely situation (never widow, wife, mother, or a bride). Her previous actions should haunt her, because thats what she deserves.

Such a title, Elderly Lady Crossing on Green, befits this poem when we consider the reason why this elderly lady shouldnt get any type of support or care is because she didnt provide it to others when she was younger. In fact, she enjoyed scaring people to death when they were crossing on green. Therefore, when the Elderly Lady [is] Crossing on Green, she should be treated the way that she treated others in the past. What goes around, comes around.

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