Auto Wreck

Essay by cather123College, UndergraduateA, October 2014

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Catherine Shackelford

English 101

12 September 2014

Always a Mystery

Markus Zusak once said, "it kills me sometimes, how people die." The disturbing topic of death has been contemplated throughout the centuries. One author, Karl Shapiro, inspired his readers to consider death through a new perspective. His lively work of art, "Auto Wreck", isn't a poem that provides an answer for death. Rather, it invokes careful thought and inward reflection for his readers by rousing different ideas and beliefs surrounding death. In "Auto Wreck," Shapiro brilliantly weaves life through his personification, which ultimately reveals the disorder of death, the inevitability of tragedy, and the effects it has on its witnesses.

The scene breaks open violently, as Shapiro personifies an accident to reflect the disorder of death. One important factor of the poem is that it begins in the middle of the accident, rather than before or after. This is probably to reveal the randomness as well as inconvenience of death.

Sirens "beating, beating" indicate the nosiness that Shapiro creates to evoke feelings of chaos and hurry just like during any tragedy (one). Immediately following the sirens, a "ruby flare" pulses "out red light like an artery" (two). These few, yet significant words Shapiro uses compare to each other actually brings the scene of the accident alive to the reader. The color red indicates violence, while a flare typically symbolizes danger or an emergency. The fact that this is related to an artery conveys a vivid image of blood pulsing out of a cut open artery. After this messy, disordered state, Shapiro personifies an ambulance, portraying a vivid image of one theory on what occurs at death.

One popular idea of death is afterlife, or even simply traveling to "the light." Immediately following this tragedy, an ambulance "floating down"...