The Book of Questions, III

The Book of Questions, III Themes


The questions in “Book of Questions III” are very philosophical. These are the branches of Western philosophy, all of which are touched on in this poem: Metaphysics contemplates the fundamental nature of reality and being. Aesthetics seeks to understand perception and beauty. Politics considers issues of power and governance. Epistemology is concerned with knowledge. Ethics studies moral principles. Please see the “Summary and Analysis” section for details of how each of these philosophical concerns are taken up in this poem.


Animism is the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a spirit. The figurative language in “Book of Questions III,” especially personification, reflects an animist view of the world. The speaker grants the status of being not only to plants, but to complex manufactured objects: an automobile and a train.