English XI (Old Course)

Keeping Things Whole – Summary | The Magic of Words

 “Keeping Things Whole”, a three stanza poem, composed by Mark Strand. This poem highlights identity crisis, a smoldering problem of the present time.
The poet asks earnestly for unity or completeness (whole) against alienation and fragmentation ever prevalent in our life.

            The poet goes to a field; he finds himself absence in the field. He is missing his identity. When he walks forward, he parts the air. But the air immediately fills up the space behind him. Unlike human beings, the air maintains unity. People keep on moving, for they have reasons. However, the reasons are all false, and carry no essence for the poet. Unlike these people, the poet moves on for the unity among the fragments. He seems a bit idiosyncratic because modern people are material oriented and selfish.

            Mark Strand has brilliantly shed lights on the life of a modern man, who is alienated from his society, his self, and is thus fragmented. He is in the void of identity loss/crisis. He is a “nobody”. His life is purposelessly mechanical as he is ever hungry for objects.

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