The Representation of Art in William Carlos Williams' Poem The Rose

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The Representation of Art in William Carlos Williams' Poem The Rose

"The rose is obsolete." (line 1) The rose is no longer of use, out-dated, and out-moded. Modernists felt the same way about the traditional and accepted art of the early nineteen hundreds.

Roses are given to people so often. Who among us does not attach some type of personal significance to the image of a rose? I would venture to say that no one has not given, been given, or wished to give or receive a rose. Roses are delivered from florists by the dozen during all holiday seasons, for anniversaries, for apologies, for courting. . . And it is in this obsessive usage that the meaning of the rose has been exploited. What delivers more
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Charles Demouth painted "I Saw the Figure Five in Gold" about this same topic, but expressed it in a much different way. He challenges the viewer to place himself inside the mind of a person watching that speeding truck, showing what image would be left imprinted in the viewer's mind. Similarly, a Modernist approach to art does not focus on large, over-used emotions, but rather reinvents ways to see the world. This shocks the viewer into reexamining how he sees the world. This shocks the viewer into reexamining the world.

In William Carlos Williams' poem The Rose, the rose can represent art. Traditionally viewed at the beginning, art is obsolete. Williams describes physical aspects of the rose that artists would focus on as they paint, such as "each petal ends in/ an edge" (lines 2 and 3) The edge of the rose, the abstract aspects of traditional art, is insignificant, sparse, and meaningless. ("The edge/ cuts without cutting/ meets - nothing" (lines 5-7)) In fact, is there any abstract aspect to traditional art?

As the popular art subjects become more and more used up, artists search for other ways to express antiquated ideas. They begin carving and painting roses onto vases. ("renews/ itself in metal or porcelain" (line 8)) Ironically, while this new format originated from the overuse of the subject, this simple overuse also opened a gateway for more
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