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John Updike 's Telephone Poles

Decent Essays
Kelly Lynch November 17, 2015 AP Literature Hersker Never Green Some fancy that it is easiest to believe that things mean precisely what they appear to on the surface. However, to understand the world and thoughts of others in a more profound way, it is necessary to accept the fact that things may not always be just as they seem. It is imperative that one adopt this same attitude when reading poetry. One poem in particular that exemplifies this is John Updike’s “Telephone Poles”. Within the work, telephone poles are compared to trees by way of extended metaphor. “Telephone Poles” conveys the message that when nature is destroyed to make way for technology is harmful to nature itself and humankind as well by using an extended metaphor; this is enhanced and made clear by Updike’s usage of supporting metaphors, similes, verbal irony, and imagery. When taken literally, “Telephone Poles” seems to be merely a description of how prevalent the eponymous objects seem to be in today’s world. However, in the way that Updike portrays them, it becomes clear that telephone poles permeate the world even more than true trees despite the fact that mankind created them rather than some great outside force. Towards the end of the poem, he even remarks of trees that “[t]hese giants are more constant than evergreens/ By being never green” (Updike 25-26) In this light, they appear menacing and omniscient because it seems that even humanity—the source of their creation—has lost
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