Thematic Analysis

Mike Worona
Mr. Rosenthal
Oct.12, 1998
Honors English
Period 1

Two Love Poems From Two Perspectives

In this writing the two poems, “Upon Julia’s Clothes”, by Robert Herrick, and “Kidnap Poem”, by Nikki Giovanni, will be interpreted through thematic analysis by the writer. Each poem will be broken down and observed for hints or clues to the poets’ philosophies.

In “Upon Julia’s Clothes” Herrick refers to Julia as his own. The poems seem to be at a distant point from “Julia”, because of how the writer must “cast” his eyes to see. Robert also stresses the metaphorical “liquefaction of her clothes”. When something is liquefied it flows, and due to gravity, when something flows, it flows down. This could signal that the writer is watching Julia remover her clothes, which doesn’t necessarily mean Julia is even a person. In the first stanza of “Upon Julia’s Clothes” the rhyme centers around the word “clothes” and in the last stanza the rhyme centers on “me”. These two words have significance because they are both stressed. The idea appears to be a cause and effect situation, the liquefaction of her clothes is what gets him (the writer) going and excited. Not many hints are given to the reader of what Julia could be other than a person. So, basically the writer is watching Julia’s clothes come off.

In the second piece, “Kidnap Poem” The point of view differs from the work discussed earlier. Unlike Herrick, Giovanni is a female from the 1970’s whereas Herrick was a male from the 1640’s.

Nikki writes “Kidnap Poem” with an excessive use of the word “you”. This excessive use, along with the lack of punctuation, makes the reader feel that the poem is directed personally to them. She speaks of poetry and how the symbolism in poetry is used to capture the writer’s ideas and perspective in writing. This is supported by her use of the word “kidnap”, meaning she is kidnapping what’s around her and putting it in writing to communicate her perspective. The writer hints conveying her thoughts by the use of the line “play the lyre for you”. Nikki insinuates she is black by using “red, Black, and green”(the colors of an African flag) and capitalizing black to make it significant. Overall, what she is trying to say is that poetry is a powerful form of the spoken word that may capture interest, attention, and possibly love.

Both poems were written well, using descriptive and metaphorical ideas. “Upon Julia’s Clothes” has a wider range of possible meanings because of the lack of information given, Giovanni got her point across directly by establishing a personal link with the reader, while Herrick wrote as if it were a day dream in the back of his mind.