The poem “To be of use” by Mercy Piercy had the theme of hard work. The idea that the poet conveyed was premised on how people should work hard because it is rewarding and satisfying. The poem talks about the sacrifice that people make so that there is food and that people remain happy. Those who work hard have a tendency of being loved and please everybody because they notice the void that would be present if the work is not done. They then enjoy the benefits of their sweat, and the poem observes that it is a good feeling. Moreover, it discredits laziness and is meant to inspire people to work hard. To be of use utilizes the use of metaphors, similes, and symbolism and emphasizes the point of how people should work hard and satisfaction they achieve in doing so.
The poem has used similes to showcase the importance of work and convey the degree of strife that people engage in when they put themselves at work. The similes in this poem are meant to draw attention to the details and degree of work that is done. For instance, the poem says,” bouncing like half submerged balls (stanza 1 line 8).” The line is meant to show that working is a struggle that the people who engage in have to face. They get submerged in the work just and are continuallyinvolved in the effort to give the best just like would be the case with half submerged balls. Additionally, the poem talks about strain and patience that constitutes working. It emphasizes this point through the use of asimile. Line 2 of the second paragraph says, “Who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience.” The buffalo does exercise patience and works tirelessly, which makes it the ultimate comparison to the people that the poet confesses to loving. Also, the poem has used the device to showcase the satisfaction drawn from working. It compares work to mud (line 1, stanza 4). The rationale for this comparison is that mud is dirty and full of strain, just like is the case with work. Even so, the results are beautiful and the satisfaction derived from such beauty is what counts.
The poem employs the use of symbolism to highlight different aspects that emanate from or are associated with hard work. An ox is used as a symbol for strength. The poem notes,” I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart.” The strength that the ox is used to portray is the same that the stanza applies to people who harness themselves to work. The ox is used to highlight that working is not a child’s play and consequently demands a lot of strength, which is a necessary attribute that people should possess. Mud in the poem is also a symbol of the strain that it associated with hard work even though it has also been used as a simile. Mud, as mentioned earlier, is among the dirtiest of things. It is substantially difficult to work with the presence of mud because it is sticky and makes a person unclean. It is, therefore, used to showcase that most work is accomplished once the hurdles are surpassed. Mud is the hurdle that has to be skipped for the work to be complete and satisfying(McKeague, Patricia, 34). Even though mud is hard to work with, it is only through adequate effort that it can produce something that is worth looking.
Mercy Piercy also used metaphors to draw attention to the some important aspects of the poem. Her use of metaphors is evidenced in the last paragraph. Hopi vases are used as metaphors for laziness and lack of ambition. The poem notes that the vases are put up in museums yet they were meant for the fields (stanza 4, line 7). It is a lazy approach because the vase was used as a vessel of corn collection but has been made to idle in the shelves of a museum even though people still need to collect corn. It is laziness that has made people use the corn vases for decoration purposes and made them abandon the art of collecting corn. When a tool for work is used for admiration purposes, then there is the presumption that the work has ceased from being done. When people cease from working, it denotes laziness. Therefore, the poem has used the vases to showcase that work can cease to be done when people grow lazy. In addition, the metaphor helps to highlight the point of pitchers looking for people who may work. It depicts the desperation that is accrued to pitchers when workers become lady. The poem says, “The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real (Stanza 4 line 9).” The sentiment is expressed right after the poet employs the aspects metaphor on Haze vases. The pitcher’s cry is a sign of the dissatisfaction that originates from laziness.
The poem is a good read that captures the attention of the reader through additional use of repetition to facilitate rhyme and rhythm that draw attention to the essentials that it has. The use of metaphors, similes and symbolism is an ultimately brilliant way of ensuring that the theme of hard work is well represented. They also break monotony and help to make the poem figurative, which ignites deeper thought into the themes or main ideas in the poem.
McKeague, Patricia. Step by Step: Writing About Literature. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1995. Print.
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