Luz Gomez. Ltwr 100. What Work Is By Philip Levine Analysis.
1092 WordsMar 3, 20175 Pages
What Work Is by Philip Levine Analysis Philip Levine walks us through the life of working-class Americans in his poem “What Work Is”. This poem reveals what labor really is and how one group may have an advantage over another. Levine explains the struggle and sacrifices of working for survival in his neighborhood by comparing it to the work his brother passionately does. He walks us through the rainy day of looking for something that can potentially not be there and the sacrifices you have to make and his relationship to his brother and the emotional direction from anger to having this almost loss feeling.
Levine’s uses some end rhymes along with some slant rhymes in his poem. For example, “...long line” (line 1) would…show more content…
These end-stopping lines makes the reader take a pause in the thought which gives this poem a deeper sense of the story Levine speaks about.
Levine starts the poem talking about work and what a struggle it is to wait for something that might not even be there. In lines 3-6, he then says, “if you’re / old enough to read this you know what / work is, although you may not do it. / Forget you.” He carries a very bitter tone with this word choice. Before, Levine would talk about work more literal, but he then starts to shift towards his brother and his relationship towards him. He talks about how of a hard worker his brother is with the similar job Levine is seeking. His brother though, does his work for pleasure and passion, “Works eight hours a night so he can sing / Wagner…” (lines 30-31) instead for physical survival. Levine makes the reader feel like we are there when he talks about waiting in line for work, just for the possibility to hear a man say they are not hiring today for whatever reason he wants. He makes us feel as if we are the ones waiting in line, feeling the rain falling onto our hair. He uses words like “you” to speak to us directly, “You rub your glasses with your fingers…” (line 12). This gives us the sense that we are in fact there rubbing our glasses as if we are standing in his shoes. The word choice he uses makes it readable for anyone to understand what is going on in this