Louise Gluck: Poems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Louise Gluck: Poems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Children - “The Drowned Children”

Louise Gluck ascribes the children’s drowning to gullibility: You see, they have no judgment./So it is natural that they should drown,/first the ice taking them in/and then, all winter, their wool scarves/floating behind them as they sink.” The children drown because they are credulous. They permit the ice to decoy and eventually gulp them. The children incarnate the innocence that warrants drowning in real life. Had the children been judgmental, they would have repelled the ice’s inducements.

Artificial Mist - “Afterword”

Louise Gluck writes, “Reading what I have just written, I now believe/I stopped precipitously, so that my story seems to have been/slightly distorted, ending, as it did, not abruptly/but in a kind of artificial mist of the sort/sprayed onto stages to allow for difficult set changes.” The afterward epitomizes the inauthenticity in stories that warrants ostentatious endings. The distortion of the story is intentionally geared towards aggrandizing the resolution so that a reader will not be disenchanted.

The Empty Glass - “The Empty Glass”

Louise Gluck elucidates, “I asked for much; I received much./I asked for much; I received little, I received/next to nothing.” The empty glass designates disproportionate narcissism which activates the speaker’s neurotic yearning for much. The narcissism cannot be gratified so the speaker keeps demanding for much so that her glass can be overflowing permanently.

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