D¶sa 1 Shane D¶sa Mr.

Damaso Honors English II, Period 7 3 May 2010 Speaking for the Overlooked "As labor creates the wealth of the country, we demand the passage of such laws as may be necessary to protect it in all its rights." -John Peter Altgeld

Sweat dripping down a worker¶s head. While working at 18 cents per hour and 50-55 hour work weeks, the worker spends time in a hot and dirty factory (Glass Factory Jobs 1). This is a stark reality when a worker works in a glass factory in the early 20th century (Glass Factory Jobs 1). Workers received little rights when it came to labor in factories. James Wright utilizes natural imagery to describe the progress made in the United States of America¶s labor rights movement. Wright lived a life where he understood the meaning of the labor rights movement. He was born on December 13, 1927 in Martin¶s Ferry, Ohio ("The Biography of James Wright" 1). Over the course of his life he wrote four books of poetry. His third book The Branch Will Not Break, is special because it lacks meter and rhyme but employs the use of deep images ("The Biography of James Wright" 1). He worked with Martin Bly, another poet translating South American and German poetry and Wright is also hailed as one of the contemporary poets of 20th century ("The Biography of James Wright" 1). His three most famous poems, ³A Blessing,´ ³Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy¶s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota,´ and ³Autumn

D¶sa 2 Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ are all connected by their description of the labor rights movement. Wright¶s life gave him insight into his style of poetry. His father worked in a glass factory and mother in a laundry (³James Wright Biography´ 1). In high school he experienced a nervous breakdown and had to graduate a year later (³James Wright Biography´ 1). He joined the army in 1946, after graduating from high school (³James Wright Biography´ 1). After returning from service he attended college at Kenyon College (³James Wright Biography´ 1). In 1953, he moved to Vienna to study at University of Vienna with his wife (³James Wright Biography´ 1). When Wright wrote his poetry, he considered himself a craftsman (³James Wright´ 3). He died on March 25, 1980 ("The Biography of James Wright" 1). Wright lived a life that helped form him to be the person that wrote his famous poems. Wright¶s writing in The Branch Will Not Break was very revolutionary compared to his previous works. He had no recognizable meter or rhyme now and his stanzas length also varied in length. Wright also delved into new technique of deep images, which focused on the inner meanings of a poem. He focused especially on the belief of the human spirit, human rights issues, and inner beauty. His father worked in a glass factory and mother in a laundry. In high school he experienced a nervous breakdown and had to graduate a year later (³James Wright Biography´ 1). His father working in a glass factory, mother in a laundry, and experiencing a nervous breakdown in high school all helped affect Wright¶s poetry (³James Wright Biography´ 1). Wright¶s writing in The Branch Will Not Break was not only affected by his life but what was happening during his lifetime. James Wright lived through many events during his lifetime, namely World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and Cold War. During World War II, Wright lived through the

D¶sa 3 importance of the trade unions and workers rights. During World War II while America was at war and the country was mobilized for war, trade unions became more powerful and were spurned by countries fearing revolution (³Organized Labor´ 1). They did this to compromise with the workers as a measure to eliminate socialism and communism spreading (³Organized Labor´ 1). During his time, Wright also lived through the Civil Rights Movement. The struggle for African American civil rights spanned during the 1960s. People like Martin Luther King Junior¶s ³I have a dream´ speech and Rosa Park¶s buss incident both captivated the country ("Civil Rights Movement Timeline" 1). These two major events both helped shape Wright¶s poetry and life. Wright¶s life and historical events happening during his life all helped him in writing his poems. James Wright in his book The Branch Will Not Break uses natural imagery to describe the social progress of human rights over the course of America¶s history. James Wright¶s father working in the glass factory and mother in a laundry gave him insight into lack of proper working conditions in factories. He would have firsthand knowledge of a life where a parent earns a minimal wage and works long hours. James Wright living during the Civil Rights Movement would have showed him the lack of civil rights and human rights the African American population experience. He also lived during World War II where trade unions advocated the increase in labor rights. All of these events and experiences helped Wright write his poems. The three most famous poems in Wright¶s The Branch Will Not Break all discuss the labor rights movement. ³A Blessing´ is about two men who enter a pasture where they encounter two horses. Throughout the poem the narrator describes the beauty of these poems. The narrator seems even to envy the beauty of these animals at one point. ³Lying in a Hammock at William

D¶sa 4 Duffy¶s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota´ is about a man whom reclines in a hammock and describes the setting around him. He sees abnormal sights, and narrator throughout the poem sees the world around him and recognizes how his life has turned out. ³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ is about the setting of a human town in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The narrator starts about describing a scene in a football stadium and transitions to talk about the people working throughout the town. In the second stanza, Wright talks about fathers ashamed to come home and towards the end about boys running against each other. These three poems outline the history of the labor rights movement. ³Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy¶s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota´ describes how workers are manipulated. The poem underlines the struggles of America¶s working class and describes it as a ³daily grind of their lives as what they have been handed by American society and the political agendas that keep the status quo intact´ (³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ 6). The manipulated animals like the butterfly and cows show how society has manipulated people to conform to their ideals. The butterfly, or workers, being on a black trunk, factory, alludes to the fact that workers work in substandard factories. The adjective of black, paints the picture of dark and gloomy. The cowbells, or workers, walking in a straight line paints the image of cows walking in a straight line, when in reality cows move aimlessly and in no specific direction. This is about how workers are limited to do what they want and are treated like animals. The image of the poop of horses blazing up, paints an image of hardened droppings. The horses can be alluded to workers, and their droppings symbolize their toils. The droppings hardening are significant in that the toils of the workers go unnoticed. This poem ³A Blessing´ correlates very well to describe Wright¶s theme of labor rights in that it describes the creation of labor rights. The narrator describes the wealthy factory owners as

D¶sa 5 ³people are always passing by without truly connecting to the place´ (³A Blessing´ 5). The horses, or workers, are ready to be accepted and given rights. They are overjoyed by the fact that these men take time out of their time to see what the ³horses´ go through. The fact that the ³ponies´ are happy that the men have entered the pasture is alluding to the fact that they are happy to be loved and accepted in line nine. In line 22, the man caresses the pony and he shows love and apology for all actions. The narrator recognizes that the ³visitors´ cannot fully recognize the beauty of these ponies. The images in line 18, describes one pony as ³black and white,´ this puts the image of an African American male in the reader¶s head. Line thirty¶s imagery leads the reader to imagine the pony as almost human. The men now realize the horse is human. The narrator realizes that he must do what it takes to correct the situation, even if it means backlash from his colleagues. ³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ describes how a new generation will solve the labor rights¶ problems. ³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ describes line two as a ³distasteful euphemism is not so much an ethnic slur as a recognition of the plight of so many immigrants who came to America´ (³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ 3). In line 6, ³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ describes it a ³quick juxtaposition is indicative of the dual roles that Wright believes most of America¶s working class has been forced to play. On the outside, the men are nearly beaten down by poverty, frustration, and a hopeless future. On the inside, they take pride in the strength and endurance of their sons who fight so bravely on the field´ (³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ 3). The imagery of line two: ³I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltsonville´ describes how minorities work in hard labor jobs. In line six, the imagery of fathers ashamed to coming home is very powerful. The meaning of this is that the fathers are ashamed because they work for long hours but bring home very little money. They

D¶sa 6 are sad that they cannot provide for their families because their work in the factory does not pay them well. In line eleven, the fact that the boys grow in October, paints the image of crops. Crops are harvested in the fall, and these boys are the same. They are given all the sufficient knowledge of life, and grow to be beautiful. The next line¶s imagery leads the reader to believe that these boys then ³gallop´ off to create change, because they run away from their home, which is full of problems. This poem describes how a new generation is made that solves the problems of the previous generation. The ³sons´ help give their ³fathers´ labor rights at the factories. The imagery to describe the labor rights movement in America is portrayed in this poem. The struggle of labor right can be translated into the entertainment industry today. ³Blood Diamond´ describes how in Sierra Leone people are enslaved by their own are forced to work in diamond mines. The movie depicts how the Revolutionary United Front takes its people as slaves to mine diamonds and these diamonds are used to fund their war. Edward Zwick, the director, portrays the life of a Sierra Leone fisherman, Solomon Vandy, who finds a precious pink diamond and fights to help free his family. Throughout Sierra Leone, peoples¶ rights are ignored, while many are killed brutally or killed. Edward Zwick is known for heroic and emotional movies (Edelstein 1). ³Blood Diamond´ especially has to do with labor rights. ³Blood Diamond´ depicts the struggle to end a futile war and the evil trade of blood diamonds. The diamond mines depicted are one where children and men of all ages are forced to work in these mines. These people are worthless to the RUF soldiers, and are killed out of sport sometimes. The enslaved people are treated very badly. David Denby describes natural resource discovery in Africa as ³every time a valuable natural resource has been discovered in Africa² whether it¶s ivory, gold, or diamonds²white Europeans have hired surrogates to plunder the good´ (Denby 2). As a result of this discovery, people¶s rights are thrown out the window, and the

D¶sa 7 only point on the mind of the ³Europeans´ is monetary gain at any cost. The struggle for independence and basic recognition of human rights is similar to James Wright¶s description of social progress of labor rights over the course of America¶s history. ³Imagine´ by John Lennon also discusses the progress of labor rights. John Lennon was part of the Beatles and after the band broke up sang his own music where he also preached peace ("Imagine by John Lennon Songfacts" 1). ³Imagine´ is about a world where there are no differences. There are no countries or anything that stands in the way of a united world. It was written in 1975 ("Imagine by John Lennon Songfacts" 1). ³Imagine´ does a perfect job of describing a society where people are respected and have the proper labor rights. Lennon wants a world where everyone is equal when it comes to human rights in general. He wants a world where everyone is respected and rights are acknowledged ("Imagine by John Lennon Songfacts" 1). He wants a utopia where everyone is cared for, and no one is overlooked in society. In stanza two line six, Lennon sings ³Living life in peace,´ and in stanza three line three he also sings ³No need for greed or hunger.´ John Lenin preaches the progression of human rights and the world in general. Lennon imagines a world where people are properly paid and there is no friction when it comes to working condition. He also thinks of a future where all are at peace because they work in proper working conditions. Lennon wants to have a world full of love, and the end product is the same that James Wright wants. James Wright in his book The Branch Will Not Break uses natural imagery to describe the progress of human rights over the course of America¶s history. Over time the plight of laborers and workers are seen, and they received their due rights to work in safe and proper paying places. No matter in history, the recognition of human rights is necessary to value every human being no matter their religion, ethnicity, or political standing.

D¶sa 8

D¶sa 9 Appendix A ³Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota´ James Wright, 1963 Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly, Asleep on the black trunk, blowing like a leaf in green shadow. Down the ravine behind the empty house, 5 The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon. To my right, In a field of sunlight between two pines, The droppings of last year's horses 10 Blaze up into golden stones. I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on. A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home. I have wasted my life.

D¶sa 10 Appendix B ³A Blessing ³ James Wright, 1963 Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness. 5 They have come gladly out of the willows To welcome my friend and me. We step over the barbed wire into the pasture Where they have been grazing all day, alone. They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness 10 That we have come. They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. There is no loneliness like theirs. At home once more, they begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness. I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, 15 For she has walked over to me And nuzzled my left hand. She is black and white, Her mane falls wild on her forehead, And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear 20 That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist. Suddenly I realize

D¶sa 11 That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom.

D¶sa 12 Appendix C ³Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio´ James Wright, 1963 In the Shreve High football stadium, I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville, And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood, And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel, 5 Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home. Their women cluck like starved pullets, Dying for love.

Therefore, 10 Their sons grow suicidally beautiful At the beginning of October, And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

D¶sa 13 Appendix D

D¶sa 14 Appendix E

D¶sa 15 Appendix F ³Blood Diamond´ Directed by Edward Zwick, 2006

D¶sa 16 Appendix G Ramble On´ by Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II (1969) Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay. But now it's time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way. For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way. Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...

*Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song. I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way. I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On, Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.

Got no time to for spreadin' roots, The time has come to be gone. And to' our health we drank a thousand times, it's time to Ramble On.

* Chorus

Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear. How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air. T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair. But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her....yeah.

D¶sa 17 * Chorus

Gonna ramble on, sing my song. Gotta keep-a-searchin' for my baby... Gonna work my way, round the world. I can't stop this feelin' in my heart Gotta keep searchin' for my baby. I can't find my bluebird!

D¶sa 18 Appendix H ³Milkweed´ by James Wright, 1963

While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself, I must have looked a long time Down the corn rows, beyond grass, The small house, White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn. I look down now. It is all changed. Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes Loving me in secret. It is here. At a touch of my hand, The air fills with delicate creatures From the other world.

³Knowledge´ by Shane D¶sa After James Wright As I walk about, among expansive worlds, Trying to make sense of life. Toward the exhibit I walked, Down the halls, past the rooms filled with old artifacts

D¶sa 19 The last exhibit. Eyes fill the room, minds gaze at the item. My life I have lived, the years without rest, And yet I stand before it all. The epitome of my life, but so small, jagged, and dynamic. It is within my grasp, almost within my fingers. The air tenses, It is gone.

D¶sa 20 Works Cited "A Blessing." Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Ruby. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. 22-41. Poetry for Students. Web. 8 Apr. 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com>. "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio." Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Rx`uby and Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. 16-30. Poetry for Students. Web. 8 Apr. 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com>. "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio." Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Ruby and Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. 16-30. Poetry for Students. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com>. "Better World Quotes - Labor." The BetterWorld Project - BetterWorld.net. Web. 03 May 2010. <http://www.betterworld.net>. "'Blood Diamond' Movie Trailer Released." WhiteFlash.com. Web. 22 Apr. 2010. <http://www.whiteflash.com>. "Civil Rights Movement Timeline." Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free Online Reference, Research & Homework Help. ² Infoplease.com. 2007. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.infoplease.com>. Denby, David. "What If?" The New Yorker. 11 Dec. 2006. Web. 21 Apr. 2010. <http://www.newyorker.com>. Edelstein, David. "Film Critic David Edelstein Reviews "Blood Diamond" and ""Apocalypto"" Speech. NPR. Web. 21 Apr. 2010. <http://nl.newsbank.com>.

D¶sa 21 "Glass Factory Jobs (19th & Early 20th Centuries)." Corning Museum of Glass. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.cmog.org>. "Imagine by John Lennon Songfacts." Song Meanings at Songfacts. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.songfacts.com>. "James Wright Biography - James Arlington Wright Childhood, Life & Timeline." Famous People Famous People in History, Famous People List & Biography. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.thefamouspeople.com>. "John Lennon - Imagine Lyrics." LYRICS. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.lyrics007.com>. "Martin Luther King, Jr.." BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2010. 25 April. 2010. <http://www.brainyquote.com>. "The Art of Poetry James Wright." Interview by Peter A. Stitt. The Paris Review Summer 1975: 1-28. Web. "The Biography of James Wright." PoemHunter.Com - Thousands of Poems and Poets.. Poetry Search Engine. Web. 25 Apr. 2010. <http://www.poemhunter.com>. "World War II and the World Federation of Trade Unions - Organized Labor." Encyclopedia of the New American Nation. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. <http://www.americanforeignrelations.com>.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful