Last Chance for the Tarzan Holler: Poems

Comparative Analysis of "Ant Farm" and "Running Out of Choices"

“Ant Farm” and “Running Out of Choices” express two distinct ideas. The first is how experience, knowledge, and instinct can influence our actions or view of things. The second is that a life with restriction may be more satisfying than the burden of choice. When juxtaposed, the poems can work together to provide a fuller message. However, the poems deliver their messages differently. “Running Out of Choices” uses a series of events and memories in a traditional poetic structure, while “Ant Farm” uses paradoxes and images in a structure resembling prose. Though the poems’ styles are different, they share a few themes: religion, a fascination with cruelty, the female reproductive experience, insignificance of life, and a return to early memories.

“Running Out of Choices” is more approachable than “Ant Farm”. It is divided into stanzas of reasonable length, each investigating a distinct memory. The first stanza describes the speaker’s first impression of hearing news from foreign media. The second discusses how the speaker cannot mention another country without thinking about its involvement in the wars that have plagued history. The third is about how talk of Mississippi resurrects the story of Medgar Evers’ murder, and so on...

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