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Singapore by Mary Oliver, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 562

Essay

Mary Oliver wrote the poem “Singapore.” It explores the relations between an actual event in her life and nature. The poem narrates the life of a middle-aged woman whose work is cleaning dirty restrooms.

The poem “Singapore has a wide social significance. Its title is vital in defining place as it accentuates the reader’s visualization of the woman’s job. It illustrates a situation that is likely in any place in the world. However, it may be significant of a developing nation. The blue cloth used to clean the toilet bowls caught the eye of the narrator. This could be because it was not the right material to use while cleaning. In stanza six line 4, the narrator expresses shock in the way the woman unfolded and refolded the blue cloth.

The author uses emotions, visions, and feelings to express the mind of the woman. The speaker in the poem encounters this woman doing her daily clean up jobs. She was cleaning toilets. The narrator reacts with sheer disgust as seen in Stanza 1line 6, “disgust argued in my stomach” then embarrassment at the expression of the janitors face. The speaker tells of how different this poem is, as an ordinary poem usually has rivers, waterfalls, and fountains, as they are pleasant to read. She intends to show us the face value of this poem that is disgusting as it involves a chore that no one enjoys undertaking.

Everyone must earn a living. No matter how disgusting a job might, respect must be afforded those who do it, as they are decent people doing indecent jobs that must be done.

The poem sways the reader’s emotions by giving the location and emotional atmosphere of the place. “Darkness was ripped from my eyes,” means that the disgusting site opened up her eyes and startled the speaker. It also enlightened her views and perceptions on different jobs. In the fourth stanza, the narrator tells of the woman’s response when she turned and smiled in embarrassment. They looked at each other and afforded smiles amidst the different thoughts running in their heads.

The speaker marvels at the “light that shines out of a life” because she sees that we are all humans searching for something better for ourselves. The woman though embarrassed to be seen working in such an environment, seems to love life and wishes that people would realize that any job must be done. Stanza 5, line 1 “I don’t doubt for a moment that she loves her life” (LoraKim), this expression by the speaker shows that she has accepted that though disgusting, everyone must take pride in their jobs. The happiness shared by the two women symbolizes the trees and birds that bring tranquility and harmony in other poems. The janitor smiled for her sake, they smiled together, and this meant that this poem was filled with birds and trees.

In stanza five, the speaker confirms that indeed, “everybody needs a job. It is a lesson on humility through the work of other people who may do seemingly disgusting jobs. It shows how the speaker has come to respect people of all professions and especially the janitor at the airport. This is contrary to the culture on general treatment of cleaners in by people doing better jobs. It reminds the reader that a person’s job does not always define personality.

Works Cited

Joyner LoraKim. A year’s Rising with Mary Oliver. http://yearsrisingmaryoliver.blogspot.com/2010/04/singapore-april-7-2010.

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