Perhaps the World Ends Here is an ode that elevates each aspect of life in which the table is involved. The kitchen table takes on a symbolic presence for everyday issues, but is the symbolism positive? Depending on observation, the poem can take on a sinister tone and rejects the everyday traditions of a patriarchal society. A traditional patriarchal society makes the father of each household the deciding factor on issues and the way that family operates. The table is a metaphor for the home or community in which you live.
Much like a community, there are multiple forces at ork to keep the platform upright and secure. Without full support at all times, the entire structure will topple. The poem constantly reminds you of each individual’s necessity to remain supportive. The first line starts with such an example. “No matter what, we must eat to live. ” An individual cannot leave or else faces the risk of starvation. The next line continues with the same logic.
“So it has been since creation, and it will go on. ” The author is letting you know that this way of life is all that the people know and believe to be possible.
The poem goes on to talk about chasing hickens and dogs away from the table. The line would be sound if not for the mention of poultry. Why chase away a commonly eaten bird when there is such a celebration of bringing food to the table? Is there a fear of an animal knocking one of the table legs loose? Chickens and dogs must be a metaphor for outsiders of the community (table) who are considered savage or animalistic in their way of operating.
An instinctive fear and rejection of outside individuals allows the traditional system of operations to remain unchanged.
The next sentence follows with another threat owards the table. “Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees. ” The babies chewing can be seen as a part of the natural cycle of life but it stands for something deeper. A baby contains total potential from day 1 and knows nothing at all. Being a blob of potential, the parents and society can form each baby to hold the same ideals as they do. However, a baby still has its own curiosity and can form more cognitive reasoning as time advances. By teething, a baby is slowly creating imperfections on the corners.
What could corners represent? A corner is another term for a oundation, in this case the foundation of home life. If the table is the centerpiece for tradition, the youth are slowly degrading the integrity of the foundation over time. However, scraping their knees shows that the children are hurt. Perhaps the scraping of a knee is the metaphorical injury due to defying the table. “It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. ” The end of the line is the segment that stands out. Why did the author choose to use the word human?
Isn’t humanity a given feature upon birth? A word such as civil or well-mannered would ave fit but there is alternative meaning. By instructing “human” qualities, this implies that people are born as animals and must be taught properly or else face isolation. The idea works well with the previous fear of animals being near the table. Any outsider cannot be trusted; therefore, this animal is probably here to hurt the integrity of our group. “Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. ” Why is there a need to mention drinking coffee while the dreams are happening?
Drinking coffee is a leisurely activity that requires a bit of pare time and quiet. Must dreams only be allowed to surtace when there are no issues, nothing to take care of? The dreams put their arms around the children. Once more, the youth are the group that innovation and new ideas turn towards. The dream leaving the parents shows that nothing was ever accomplished. If a dream happens it becomes reality, which is not the case for this group. A perpetual dream hoping for a change is passed from generation to generation without progress. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together nce again at the table. ” Each person eventually falls apart and the only place they know to go to is their comfort zone, the table. “This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun. ” A poem usually doesn’t shed nature in a negative light. The rain and sun are both elements of Joy, forces of nature that benefit life in countless ways. The table has become a bubble of isolation that keeps even nature away. What was once a form of protection now harms the community.
Fear has become so ingrained that beneficial elements are being cast away regardless of the evel of threat. “It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. ” The poet takes on an almost sarcastic tone at this point. The table takes an ironic twist because what was once was seen a place of Joy and togetherness is now glorified for the ability to run away and remain in isolation. The next sentence of the poem talks of “a place to celebrate the terrible victory. ” Why is the word terrible included? Shouldn’t a victory be a good thing? Perhaps the issue is so irrelevant that a victory accomplishes nothing at all.
In a patriarchal system where the children and women have no say in ecisions, an overhaul of tradition might be what the people really desire. The table has become a happy prison which you cannot leave. A place where security and tradition are protected at all costs, but reform and innovation are left out. The word perhaps is used twice in the poem: once in the Title and once to begin the last stanza. Each event in the poem has been factual; there was no ambiguity at all with the traditions. The word perhaps really stands out here because the author decided to wait until the very end to express any uncertainty.
This seed out doubt undermines every tradition observed thus far. Is the world literally ending at the end? No I don’t believe so, the world referred to is the boundaries in which the speaker hits. The poem ends on a nice cyclical note where the focus is around a meal identical to the beginning. The world’s end is a metaphorical one because the author knows that there is nothing else to life than what is traditionally provided. The life being lost isn’t that of the world, but of the people with no future, the people who will never adapt and evolve with time.