Dunbarton by Robert Lowell Essay

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"Dunbarton" by Robert Lowell is one of the poems from his "Life Studies" book. It's a short poem of only two pages but it has very deep meaning. The poem alludes to the poet's relationship with his grandfather. In this essay I will analyze this piece in detail and talk about the author's connection with his grandfather.

Robert Lowell prefers the use of free verse for his poems. He doesn't use a specific style for this piece; it is more free styled. He uses poetic language but there is no metered rhythm in the poem. Lowell even said once in an interview: "Prose is in many ways better off than poetry...I thought poetry was getting increasingly stifling. I couldn't get my experiences into tight metrical forms" (J. Myers and D. Wojahn, p.
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This is a good pre-setting for this poem. The reader is told right away that the two had a good relationship and love. At the same time, it gives the reader a feeling of something not very real but of some other world. Though grandparents love their grandchildren, they do not usually prefer their company to the society. Nevertheless, Lowell considered his grandfather his dad. Even his family members, when they said "your Father" (Line 9), meant his grandfather. The reason is that his real dad was a navy officer and was always away from home: "Daddy was still on sea-duty in the Pacific" (Line 5). In the beginning of the second paragraph, he says: "He was my father. I was his son" (Line 10). This shows that the love was mutual between the grandson to the grandfather and vice-versa. By mentioning both relationships, he puts extra focus on that fact. The seventh and the last paragraphs of the poem talk about the author's feelings: "paramour" (Line 58). In those paragraphs, he shows the reader that in some way, he was intimidated by his grandfather. Lowell describes his grandfather's crutch as "...more a weapon than a crutch" (Line 49). There are names and altitudes of all the mountains the grandfather had climbed. The author, of course, respects his grandfather but also feels insignificant compared to him. It also shows when he says that he liked to cuddle with the grandfather: "In the mornings I

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