Analysis of the Poem “So This Is Nebraska” by Ted Kooser

1. What stands out to you as you first read the poem: what do you notice? What stands out when you read it a second time? What stood out to me when I read the first poem was how the author described the ride in Nebraska which was described vividly in this line:

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air

with how the author described it, it looks like he is having fun “driving along with your hand out squeezing the air. When I read it the second time, I felt the warmth in the poem with lines:

a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like waving.
You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road.

in these lines, I noticed that it is beyond a ride along the highway of Nebraska but actually also seeing people waving that the author was touched.

2. What literary techniques do you notice the poet using (refer to your knowledge of literary elements such as imagery, figurative language, etc from Essay 2, and see also the Poetry Analysis handoutView in a new window in the Essay 3 Module)? List at least three different elements, and give specific examples of places in the poem where you see these elements in use.
a. Imagery – without doubt the poem So this is Nebraska used vivid imagery to describe the roads of Nebraska from its bumpy road to the blackbirds and the barns with their little windows. The use of imagery is like taking the reader with the author as he made a ride in the road of Nebraska.
b. Metaphor – The poem So this is Nebraska is littered with metaphor so to make its description of the ride more interesting. For example, instead of using a bumpy ride, the author instead used “slow gallop” to stir the imagination of the audience. Also, the mice that would build nest in his muffler is actually a metaphor of not being bothered by any worries in the world. The effective use of metaphor did not only make the poem colorful but engaging as well.
c. Omniscient point of view  – the omniscient character of the author is very evident in the poem as he used the word “you” which indicates that the narrator could assume any feeling or circumstances he chooses. At first he described the roads of Nebraska as himself then suddenly, he pointed to the audience as “you” assuming that you would not worry about the world like he does.

3. Why is this poem memorable? If you had to tell somebody else about this poem, what would you tell that person is most interesting or strange or significant about it?
This poem is memorable because it describes a place (Nebraska) then feeling good about it. If I am going to tell a person about the poem, there are two sets of lines that I would like to emphasize about the poem because it caught its gist. The first would be “driving along with your hand out squeezing the air” because it felt like an enjoyable ride. Then the author felt so carefree without any care of the world that he would “feel like letting your tires go flat, like letting the mice build a nest in your muffler” which implies that nothing could spoil his day because he felt so good that any bad events such as having a flat tire would not affect him and let the figurative mice build its nest in the muffler.

4. What do you think is the main idea or meaning of this poem?
The main idea of this poem is being carefree and just enjoying the scenery of Nebraska without any worry about the world. In the first section of the poem, Nebraska was described with its gravel and the dusty road then in the second section the author seemed to be enchanted by the rural road in Nebraska as the author fondly described
“the pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds”. Then finally, the author felt relaxed that he would not even be bothered even if his tires go flat that and felt like dancing around the road.

5. Consider all of the details you’ve mentioned while answering the questions above, and create an order of importance for some of the things you’ve noticed in thinking about this poem. Tell us which three details are the most interesting or significant to you, and explain why these three things strike you as being the three most important observations you’ve made in thinking about this poem so far.

Of the things that I have mentioned while answering the questions, the three details that struck me that made me think about the poem are the gravel road, the flat tires, and the dancing around on the road. These three things basically summarized the poem. The gravel road described the road and the highway and the enjoyable driving that made the author squeeze the air. The flat tires are more than a busted tire but a metaphor of an attitude of the author. That she felt so good and so relaxed in the roads of Nebraska that nothing could ever spoil his mood. Not even a flat tire during the middle of a ride. In fact, she would even let the mice build a muffler if his tires go flat. This just means that nothing could bother him. Lastly, the dancing on the road is the physical manifestation of how good the author felt. We could include the old man that made him felt like waving then stopping the car to dance on the road out of sheer joy.

 

Work Cited
Gould, E. (n.d.). So This Is Nebraska. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171336

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