Critical Literary Analysis on the Poem Idle Hands by Gabriel Spera
Analyzed by Reynard Tubid
Reading a poem is very much challenging. In order for the reader to comprehend the entire points, he needs to have a wider scope and knowledge of the words that are unfamiliar. When I first read the whole content of the poem I find it heavy. Maybe for a long time of not reading such kind of selection I forgot already how to condition myself and to be present in the story that is why I could not easily grasp the points that the poem would like me to accomplish. Prior to my analysis of the poem I bring with me a dictionary so that I may not get lost whenever I encountered difficult and complicated words. During my initial reading of the poem I could immediately figure out the nature of the author. Since from the beginning of the poem he used the plural subject “we”. I immediately comprehend his association in the poem possessing the character of a builder. The beginning word which is “we are” helped me to puzzle down all my ideas and salient points in understanding profoundly the given poem. During my initial encounter of the poem, without even recognizing the presence of the first word which was the we, I have complexities in finding the position of the one telling in the poem. It took for me three readings that were read repeatedly, until I ultimately reached the point that what I am looking for can be found at the starting line of the phrase. Without much hesitation after finding the starting point, I read the poem word for word and every time I could encounter something new I immediately referred it in the dictionary for some clarification and further understanding. Somehow the equivalent meaning of the word in the dictionary guides me to draw a more precise and definite usage. When I read it again with the labeled synonyms beside it, I found out that my comprehension changes also. The initial response I had was modified because of the repeated readings and also with the proper assistance of the dictionary. The modification process takes several times before I gradually meet the meaning it conveys.
The speaker (Gabriel Spera) in the poem is considered as one of the builders. He was a male, at the age of 30; his personality can be sensed from the line of thoughts he has which was stated in the poem. Upon reading the descriptive lines I was able to determine the person of the speaker, he was one of the builders, and drawing out from this occupation the poem itself revealed the expository character he has. He possessed the personality that was very sentimental. He was fond of bringing back what had happened during his early childhood. The concrete experience he has can still be remembered through his unfading memory. His unforgettable experience motivated him to obtain a convincing power. When he saw a snake for the first time he felt scared but when he tried to evoke his previous experience with the snake he was able to reconcile himself by not getting afraid in the present situation. Instead of undergoing a frightful reality he just diverted it into the mood of assurance that the snake will not going to harm him, in fact it could be carried using his bare hands. The speaker used a calm tone in expressing his ideas. It enables the reader to follow through the whole story of the poem with consistency and proper stress in the words used. The speaker was very much defined clearly and precisely. The given descriptions helped the reader understand more the nature of the speaker. The speaker was fully aware of what he was saying. He patterned his stream of thoughts chronologically. There was series of supporting ideas that contained an attached description in the nature of the speaker. He knew how to take his readers towards the flow of the story. The scenes were parallel with each other. One supports another and vice versa. I could settle on the points of the poem because the ideas were connectively relational with each other. After knowing the conscious mind of the author in making this poem, I suddenly changed my sensitivity on what it ought to tell me. The story became more interesting and surprising. The speaker followed the style of narration with the previous experiences he has. In the course of the narration the speaker stressed new awareness following through the past to present relationship. In the past the speaker experienced the snake as a harmless animal but when he grew up and became a matured man his consciousness of what a snake was suddenly changed. When he saw the snake for a second time, there was already alteration of approach, he became conscious that the snake might be harmful but instead of getting afraid into it he just recalled the memorable experience he has when he first saw and played the animals holding it and making fun into it. There was an inverted contrast of reality when the speaker started to recall what had happened in the past.
The speaker as the one speaking would directly address the thoughts of his ideas to the audience or to the speaker in this matter. When I read the content of the poem I do realized that I am not just a mere spectator in action but I am an active agent present in the situation. I situated myself as one of the characters in the story. I became a minor character who was able to acquire the person of a builder similar to the role of Keith and the speaker in the story. I find it quite interesting to read and easily understand the content of the story as I positioned my personal and present time and space in the context of that in the poem. The whole structure of the poem did not proceed in a straightforward way. Why? The speaker used his experiences in the past in order to divert his feeling when he saw the snake. The whole form of the poem was organized well and in fact it has four sections namely; the exposition of the personality, which tackles the author’s revelation of oneself through the supporting details in the poem. Secondly, the occurrence of the problem in the story. This line was concretely emphasized when the speaker frightfully saw the snake crawling. Thirdly, the primary solution. He recalled his past experience about the snake when he was still a young boy. He did this in order to overcome the present feeling of being afraid before the presence of the snake. Lastly, the solution to the problem. In order to completely let loose the feeling of fear he decided to divert his attention by going back into his work. These four sections composed the division of the poem. It assisted the reader‘s capacity to reach the point of the story. The poem does not follow a perfect rhyme poem but rather it used the freehand and no measure style of devising a poem. There were broad and figurative words used to sustain the flow of the whole story. What does the effect in me? Primarily it directed me to read the entire poem until I fully knew and understood the message it conveyed.
The interest followed the context of a distinctive character. There were classifications of characters that happened. The main character was classified according to his personality and the minor character as well. The poem contained a chiefly psychological approach. This could be illustrated through the actions of the speaker in a manner his going back into the past experience he has, by overcoming the fear he experienced in the present. It simply shows that there was a direct relation of experiences in the past by relating it in the present situation. The poem was explained explicitly. It has a complete section which enables the reader to understand well the point of the story. After the thorough understanding of what I read I came to the point wherein I initiatively formulate my own theme also. The theme I constructed goes this way; in life we cannot run away from our past experiences for it is the key to understand the present and know the future. These words have rich and relevant associations with the poem that helped me defined the speaker and the theme. The description of what an author was, relates the way I made my theme. The formulations of words were very much attached to my idea of constructing the theme. My theme was being associated with the figurative language such as; “wait it’s just a garter snake” which means simile, “S’ that so. Well now, if you’re so fucking sure go pick it up. Go head, right now. I can’t begin to guess.” These lines were taken in a literal meaning. The last one was defined in the figurative language, “how many snakes I held when I was younger, tread milling my hands beneath their water falling bodies.” This line was taken as a metaphor. These three figurative phrases let me to quench the message of the author. The sound effects added beauty, appreciation, clear understanding and guide me to become present in the situation. If off rhymes occurred, I do believe that there were tentative sentences in the poem. And if ever unexpected stresses or pauses occur I need to go back into the author’s experience.
The poem made me realized how to develop discipline not only in reading but most importantly the way I analyzed it. Analysis is done not just for a couple of minutes but it needs plenty of time to finish reading and understanding the whole content it has and the points it conveys. Reading is fun and interesting if you appreciate it. In my case, it takes for me several readings before I ultimately digest the important ideas, phrases and even figurative words. Perhaps, though I find it time consuming because of the complicated words, in the end it infused a lasting memory for me to carry on.