Has a poem ever seemed meaningless or pointless to you? Many people have a hard time finding the themes behind William Carlos’s poems: The Red Wheelbarrow and This is Just to Say. The poem The Red Wheelbarrow represents essential human habits, re-birth, and the cycle of life. The poem This is Just to Say represents the story of Adam and Eve. In these two poems two strong poetic elements can be found. These elements are symbolism and imagery, which also have a strong connection with the theme of the poems.
The symbolism that can be found in The Red Wheelbarrow reside in the red wheel barrow, the rain, and the white chickens. The “red wheelbarrow” symbolizes essential human habits because a wheelbarrow is a machine that helps us carry, drag, take and commute, which are all essential human actions we do to survive. The “rain” symbolizes re-birth because water goes through destruction, cleansing, and revival in the water cycle.
The “white chickens” symbolize the cycle of life because chickens come from eggs and eggs come from chickens etc.
There is also heavy symbolism in This is Just to Say. The whole poem is about Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, talking to God. The “plums” that the narrator has eaten symbolizes Adam and Eve eating the fruit they were forbidden to eat. “They were so sweet and cold” symbolizes the temptations that Adam and Eve had to eat the plums. Another element that is strongly evident in the poems is imagery.
In The Red Wheelbarrow the reader can vividly picture the red wheelbarrow, glazing in the rain, next to the white chickens; the poet uses the sense of sight when describing the subjects of the poem. Within This is Just to Say William uses several forms of imagery. As the reader begins to read, a picture is already being painted in their head; the reader can see the “plums that were in the icebox”. The reader can even taste the “sweet” plums, and feel the “cold” plums. This imagery allows the reader to imagine the poems.
When the reader imagines a poem they can critically think about it and find the meaning behind the picture, painted by imagery, in their heads. Both the Red Wheelbarrow and This is Just to Say have deep meanings behind their words. Heavy symbolism is found in the poems; the symbolism is what holds the underlying message of both poems. Even strong imagery is used; readers can see, touch and taste subjects of the poems. These poetic elements help the reader unveil the mysteries and help find the hidden themes in poetry.