The Stone Crab: A Love Poem

Blog: Analyze your chosen poem as best you can and pose any questions you have about it.

As I was looking through our Pocket Anthology for a poem to write about, I came across The Stone Crab: A Love Poem by Robert Phillips and it immediately caught my attention. Me being a fan of stone crabs, I liked this poem right away; not only because of that, but how it is written. The poem talks about a stone crab’s life and how one of its claws is picked and the body (still alive) is thrown back “upon his resources,” “mutilated,” in order to grow back a claw and repeat the process for the rest of its life. As soon as the crab grows back a new claw, the speaker comments, “And one astonished, snap! it too/is twigged off, the cripple dropped/back into treachery.” The crab does not get a chance to enjoy its life with its true form: two claws. The speaker says, “One giant claw/is his claim to fame, and we claim it,/more than once.” The speaker uses the word “we”, probably referring to fishermen, and how the crab’s only pride is taken away, its body “undesirable.” One question I came up with to help lead my essay is: Even though the crab constantly grows back a missing claw, is it OK to repeatedly do this? The speaker asks, “How many losses/can he endure?” which shows slight sympathy for the crab. Another question is, what could the crab be a metaphor or symbol for; what could it represent in life? The poem ends with this: “Something vital is broken off, he doesn’t nurse the wound; develops something new.” This denotes the stealing of the crab’s claw, a vital part of the crab, and how it does not care for the damaged limb, but creates a new one. This really shows the fighter inside the stone crab. The poem itself is very detailed, but it is difficult to see beneath it and figure out what the crab represents.

UPDATE: After doing a group analysis in class today, I uncovered more about this poem. One main theme is perseverance and how, through the poem, the capabilities of the stone crabs teach an important lesson to man. We (humans) have to be like the crabs and be strong enough to grow a new “claw” and now worry about mending the broken one.

The Stone Crab: A Love Poem
Delicacy of warm Florida waters,
his body is undesirable. One giant claw
is his claim to fame, and we claim it,
more than once. Meat sweeter than lobster,
less dear than his life, when grown that claw
is lifted, broken off at the joint.
Mutilated, the crustacean is thrown back
into the water, back upon his resources.
One of nature’s rarities, he replaces
an entire appendage as you or I
grow a nail. (No one asks how he survives
that crabby sea with just one claw;
two-fisted menaces real as night-
mares, ten-tentacled nights cold
as fright.) In time he grows another,
large, meaty, magnificent as the first.
And one astonished, snap! it too
is twigged off, the cripple dropped
back into treachery. Unlike a twig,
it sprouts again. How many losses
can he endure? Well,
his shell is hard, the sea wide.
Something vital is broken off, he doesn’t
nurse the wound; develops something new.

“Fire and Ice” – Analysis

Blog: What do “fire” and “ice” symbolize in the poem? Be sure to tie your analysis to very specific evidence. You may post this to your blog, but the writing should be formally argumentative, not exploratory: it should begin with a topic sentence that states your overall argument, and then back it up with analysis of cited evidence. Pay close attention to The Commandments.

In Frost’s poem, “Fire and Ice,” the speaker symbolizes fire as desire or love, and ice is symbolized to be destruction and hate. Another way to symbolize ice in this poem is coldness. Frost immediately connects fire with desire because of its perfect rhyme. There is controversy about how the world will end; in fire or in ice. Desire can go hand-in-hand with greed, and the speaker talks about the fate of humankind and the planet. Being greedy and desiring so many things, humans weaken the world. The persona says, “Some say the world will end in fire/Some say in ice.” Frost takes the two and suggests that they both can have the same effect. The speaker has experienced desire, saying, “From what I’ve tasted of desire/I hold with those who favor fire.” This denotes that after understanding desire, he sides with “those who favor fire.” However, on the last few lines, the idea of the world ending twice appears and Frost writes that ice can do the same damage as fire: “But if it [the world] had to perish twice,/I think I know enough of hate/To say that for destruction ice/Is also great/And would suffice.” The speaker admitted to feeling both desire and hate, that he is the same as those he describes. Fire and ice are both opposites for numerous reasons, such as that fire consumes its prey rapidly, whereas ice freezes slowly and less severely. Fire is burning hot, and ice is freezing cold. Frost makes a point that they both can do the same damage. Experiencing both desire and hate, the speaker first says that fire would end the world, but at the end, he says that ice “Is also great/And would suffice.” This shows that humans are fated to die both ways.

Symbolism in “Ulysses”

Blog: In Tennyson’s poem, could the character represents something more than the man Ulysses who conquered Troy, ventured home, and set out again on a voyage into the unknown? What might he symbolize?

In the poem, Ulysses, Ulysses’ story is taken further to a few years after his long-awaited return home. Throughout Ulysses’ whole trip, his goal is to return home to Ithaca, no matter what stands in his way. But when he finally comes home, “among these barren crags,” and is finally with his “aged wife,” he realizes he does not want to be home; he wants to “drink life to the lees.” I find it a bit ironic that on his whole journey he was dying to get home, and when he finally reaches his goal, he craves more adventure out of life. Ulysses represents more than this legend who encountered dangerous obstacles and nearly died numerous times; he represents perseverance and the idea of taking the most out of life. He says, “How dull it is to pause, to take an end,” showing his thoughts about never stopping. He says, “Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’/Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades/For ever and forever when I move.” This quote connotes his perseverance to move forward, however he never gets any closer to the “untravelled world.” But, his yearning to explore pushes him to the very end.