Sharpio's "Auto Wreck": The Theme of Death
Few subjects can be discussed with more insightfulness and curiosity than death. The unpredictability and grimness of it are conveyed well in Karl
Shapiro's poem, "Auto Wreck". The poem starts with a description of an ambulance rushing to the scene of a crash, and hurriedly gathering up the victims and rushing them away. The aftermath of the police investigation that follows leaves the crowd gathered around the scene to explore privately and individually a range of feelings and emotions about the reality of death. Shapiro's usage of imagery together with figurative language is a key element in getting the theme of death across to the reader. By…show more content… The words themselves continue to give clues about the theme in line 11 which reads, "Then the bell, breaking the hush, tolls once." I saw this line as an allusion to an old expression taken from poetry for the unpredictablilty of death, "for whom the bell tolls". The expression emphasizes the fact that no one knows who will be next in line for fate to meet them in a grim way, and this allusion gives the last two stanzas more effectiveness when the feelings are expressed by the speaker.
In the second stanza, the actual words are not the main reflection of the theme of the poem as much as the imagery itself. The reader gets the clue that the speaker is actually at the scene reacting to it simply by the word "We" in the first line. When the scene is described there is mention of "pools of blood" and glass being swept away by seemingly unfeeling policemen, described in line 16 as "large and composed". The speaker feels deranged walking among these cops and actually feeling the gravity of the situation, while the police go on about their business not expressing any remorse. They make notes and hang lanterns and just do their job. Again, the "pools of blood" is the best example of imagery reflecting theme by explaining the grimness present at an auto wreck.
The reaction to the wreck and imagery created in