Essay about The River

3594 Words Nov 13th, 2014 15 Pages
"The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" (1917)

This poem takes the form of a letter from a lonely wife who has not seen her husband in five months. She begins by reminiscing about meeting him during childhood. She was pulling flowers at the front gate and he came by on stilts, playing horse. The next two lines, "And we went on living in the village of Chokan/Two small people, without dislike or suspicion," imply that the pair did not grow close right away following that encounter; they continued to grow up separately.

In the next stanza, the wife describes marrying her husband at age fourteen. After that, she was continuously shy, either out of respect, sub-ordinance, or just because of her introverted personality. According
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Lines 25 and 26 are two short lines that stand out because they appear in the midst of longer lines. Therefore, these two lines capture the reader's attention just as the poem reaches its climax, and the speaker, the wife, acknowledges the deep sorrow she feels because of her husband's absence. Poets often adjust form or meter in order to bring attention to a specific line. Even though this poem is free verse, those two lines are markedly different from the rest, which allows Pound to emphasize their content.

Because this poem follows the sequence of the characters' lives, it is thematically appropriate that Pound uses time-based imagery and figurative language as well. The setting of the poem shifts from spring to autumn. Spring usually represents abundance and new growth, and this is when the couple's love is in bloom. Meanwhile, in the autumn, growth and greenery slowly wither away, leaves fall, and the air grows colder. The husband is away and his wife longs for his return. The wife notes that the moss has grown thicker as well, which is another metaphor for the passage of time. As she grows older, the changing seasons represent her emotional development over time.

Rivers are also an important symbol in this poem. Rivers constantly flow and change, just as the relationship between the wife and her husband has evolved. A river forms the

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