“The Pitcher” – Literal Analysis

Blog: What do you take to be the literal meaning of the poem?

I found “The Pitcher” by Robert Francis a very confusing and unordinary poem. I was able to recognize that it is about baseball because of the title, and a few words, such as “throw” and “batter”. My guess of the dramatic situation is that a member of the crowd is speaking to others about this pitcher way of playing. So, literally this poem is about a pitcher and his unusual way of pitching and deceiving the batter. The speaker uses the word, “art” on the first line and in this case, pitching is an art, but the poem can relate to any art. He writes, “How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,” denoting that he wants to trick the batter and literally, throw the ball where his bat is not. The words, “passion” and “technique” demonstrate how fervent the pitcher is about his “technique” of misleading the crowd. The speaker writes, “He throws to be a moment misunderstood,” meaning for the short period of time the batter has to react to the pitch; the pitcher wants to really throw off the batter, and that the batter can see what the pitcher’s intentions were afterward. The last two lines go with lines five and six in a sense that they both suggest that the pitcher tries to trick the batter until after the pitch, “making the batter understand too late.” The poem mainly talks about a pitcher and his ways of playing baseball to trick his opponents.


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