Good Close Reading Of A Poem, Part Two Essay Example
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Jim Daniels' "5000 Apply for 100 Jobs" is a short poetic romp that not only showcases Daniels' imagination, but it also invites the reader to explore his own imagination along the way.
This feat is accomplished by Daniels' allusions near the beginning of the poem, as well as its anti-climactic ending. Both parts of the poem leave the reader guessing, and more importantly, relying on his imagination to decode the meaning of the implicit imagery used by the poet.
First, Daniels uses his imagination to make a hum-drum event -- waiting in an employment line -- into something quite out of the ordinary. For example, Daniels alludes to the following: "Some of us I knew were poor/with pink skin sticking out/of what we wore" (Daniels, lines 4-6). It is unclear whether Daniels is using his imagination to speak figuratively, or whether he is speaking literally. At the end of the poem, Daniels states: "so I felt a bit of joy inside that big sadness,/like Happy Hour at the Goodwill Store" (Daniels, 13-14). Again, it is unclear exactly what Happy Hour at the Goodwill Store consists of, or whether this is a construct of Daniels' imagination.
Just as Daniels captivates the reader with his imagination, the reader must use his imagination to be able to interpret the overall meaning of Daniels' allusions and metaphors. "Happy Hour" at the Goodwill Store can tax the imagination of the ordinary reader, but on the other hand, its lack of literal meaning adds texture and nuance to the poem. The reader must use his imagination, but there are plenty of avenues and a lot of leeway that is left open to interpretation. For example, the reader may wonder: what is served at Happy Hour in a Goodwill Store? Alcohol? Snacks?
The fact that Daniels leaves this open to imaginative interpretation makes the poem more challenging, as well as intriguing. Many things occur beneath the surface in this poem, which makes it that much more interesting to the reader.
Daniels, J. (n.d.). "5000 Apply for 100 Jobs."
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