This paper provides a brief description of Literature as well as a brief discussion of Stephen Crane’s The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Emily Dickinson’s This was a Poet and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Constantly Risking Absurdity. The paper serves to explain and connect the underlying theme of the three readings and justify the premise that there is a connection from Literature to the everyday life that a person is living. With His Eyes: An Essay on The Connections Between Literature and The Everyday Life of Men as Appearing in Crane, Dickinson and Ferlinghetti
What can a poet, a tightrope walker, and a 19th century Texan marshal have in common? They are all inhabitants of worlds that seem so strictly bound as to be separate, but they – through talent, inclination, or maybe even circumstance – have all broken these boundaries, and they have thrived in it. Crane’s Jack Potter is a valiant marshal of a resort town plagued by a gun-wielding Scratchy Wilson whose drunken rages have immobilized the town for time to time. More than that, he is a man with a mission, for “he knew full well that his marriage was an important thing to his town” (Crane, 1898, p.
482). Yes, Jack Potter had married and unbeknownst to him, his “ancient antagonist” Scratchy Wilson, is waiting at the turn of the corner with a loaded gun in his arm while his new bride is in his arm (Crane, 1898, p. 482). People in their ordinary lives are suddenly confronted by challenges unforeseen or maybe even ignored they turn to things like these in life that the Poet’s true gifts recognized.. The Poet has the “eyes” to see through the mundane, glimpse the meaningful, and turn it to something beautiful, something that could help people understand the challenges that are before them.
Picture Ferlingetti’s Poet (1957) constantly defying odds, “he’s the super realist/who must perforce perceive taut truth/before the taking of each stance or step/in his supposed advance/toward that still higher perch” (p. 1106). That is the Poet, moving towards his art as people move through their lives. He will put into words what we may be too ignorant or afraid to recognize and accept. From ordinary meanings, a drunken man and a newly-married man, the Poet, “Distills amazing sense/ From ordinary Meanings –/And Attar so immense” as to lift the common to something significant and important to one’s own humanity (Dickinson, 1938, p. 925).
Like Dickinson’s and Ferlingetti’s Poet, literature’s purpose is to advance people and civilize the world into something higher, nobler. Men are but tied to their ordinariness, habits, and routines, but they are given the opportunity to recognize the corner where the loaded gun awaits. People are given the chance to pause and savor the happiness that is in their lives and maybe comprehend the magnitude of their own humanity and serve a part in it. Scratchy Wilson is stopped by the one simple fact that he is faced with the possibility of continuance, of life: “He was like a creature allowed a glimpse of another world.
He moved a pace backward, and his arm with the revolver dropped to his side” (Crane, 1989. p. 482). Like the acrobat who may choose whether to catch beauty or not, men too are given that choice. People too can choose to be the demolisher or the builder of their lives. Everyone is given that chance to have a portion of time and immortalize it. Like the favorite memories that are turned over and over again in minds and dreams, until one day when people would be eighty and dying, these will be the last thoughts of a well-lived life.
For with the poet’s eyes, people have seen through and recognized the meaning in their own.
Crane, S. (1898) The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. In R. DiYanni, Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, And Drama (p. 482). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Dickinson, E. (1938). This was a Poet. In R. DiYanni, Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, And Drama (p. 925). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Ferlinghetti, L. (1957). Constantly Risking Absurdity. In R. DiYanni, Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, And Drama (p. 1106). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007