Modern Poetry Essay

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade August 2001

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The common concept of "paradise lost" with historical references by both the Greeks and the Bible, can be seen in modern poetry. The poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost generically describes paradise lost, "America" by Claude McKay alludes to the concept in a sociological manner specifically in context with race relations, while "Shine Perishing Republic" by Robinson Jeffers goes into detail on the manner in which our country has decomposed.

Though "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is a rather generic and short piece of poetry, it is straight to the point and concise. The speaker uses a detached and indifferent tone in describing the concept of paradise lost. The "gold" that nature produces is symbolic of innocence or greatness. However, the "gold" does not last. It merely decays and subsides into the Earth. The speaker then alludes to Genesis, referring to the story of the Garden of Eden. While it is more subtle, the use of the word "gold" to symbolize paradise refers to the Greco-Roman Golden Age.

Overall the poem conveys a common message of a loss of innocence through experience.

"America" is essentially a poem describing the conflict of race relations. However, towards the end of the poem the speaker alludes to the paradise lost concept. The speaker in "America" is essentially describing his position in society during the first half of the poem. He uses symbolism to demonstrate the hardships his country places upon him in the first third of the poem. His tone is hateful and rather angry. But then the speaker changes his attitude, stating that while his country is oppressing him the power of it's hatred is giving him strength to fight. The speaker then takes a foreboding tone as he "gazes into the days ahead." Though America's solid granite racism will eventually...