"Not Waving But Drowning" By Stevie Smith And "Los Vendidos" Written By Luis Valdez. Poetry

1123 words - 4 pages

The poem, "Not Waving but Drowning" written by Stevie Smith strongly exemplifies the deceptive attitudes of people when hiding their true melancholy. Smith uses a drowning situation to familiarize the reaction of onlookers and society. In the poem, the victim gives false interpretation to those around him as they think he "[loves] larking" in the sea. He does this to hide his true feelings, similar to how most people attempt to hide their personal misfortunes. Eventually, the victim realizes he needs external help, by then however, the on-lookers ignore him. The onlookers do not realize that the victim is not waving but in actuality drowning because of the extent of his deceptive past. By doing this, Smith tries to symbolize the image people have when one suppresses their pain for far too long. The theme and tone expressed in this poem are of someone appearing in control but in reality floundering, which all has to do with suicide and depression. The literary devices used by the author to convey the meaning and tone are language and the setting.The first literary technique I will discuss is language. Language expresses the authors tone toward the symbolism in this poem. He uses this technique to enhance the meaning of his death. The man in this poem did not want help. He was "not waving but drowning" appearing that he was in control by showing he was waving but in reality he was drowning and wanted to commit suicide but at the same time not wanting to reveal his true feeling to the world of this true depression. Now that he had gone too far however, he has changed his mind. He does not want to drown, he wants help and "lay's moaning" he wants to be heard, but it is too late. He cannot be heard. He used to "love larking" or so people who thought they knew him thought. It was really all a cover for his emotions that he was afraid to express to the cold world that made his "heart give way." His act of suppressing his depression made him realize even more that he really wanted to show he was drowning but couldn't because of his despair.The second literary device used by the author is setting which sets the tone. "But still he lay moaning." Where is he laying? It brings up an image of a dead man, who just drowned, and now is lying on a beach. A crowd has gathered around him, looking at him thinking, "Poor chap he's always loved larking." I like to think the idea of his "not waving..." as him not asking for help, afraid of seeking other people. He has always been too far out in the ocean. It is understood that he is in the ocean which is explained like a huge world where nobody went to him or tried to reach him. "It must have been too cold for him, "his heart gave way," his heart was cold, too cold perhaps, (maybe) he thought that if he'd reached out, nobody would listen, so he appeared in control when he really wanted to be saved in his despair.In conclusion, the poem, "Not Waving but Drowning" written by Stevie Smith strongly exemplifies the...

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