College Papers

The make them look ‘soft’ or that of

 

The
poem ‘The Bluebird’ by Charles Bukowski conveys the message that despite the
hard exterior, inside a man, there is a persona filled with sentiment,
emotions. The great vulnerability that is possessed by men is oppressed under
the social structure where tears are weakness and vulnerability is a
disadvantage. Through the poem, Bukowski brings out the feeling of the deep
corners of our heart: breakable and sensitive. “There’s a bluebird in my heart
that wants to get out”. The bluebird is the metaphor for his emotions.  He
wants to express his emotions, but he is at fear of being ridiculed and looked
down upon in society. Within that time, even now, men were expected to act as
if they were emotionless or to be more specific, to lack any display of
emotions that might make them look ‘soft’ or that of a stereotypical housewife
female.  “you want to blow my book sales in Europe?”. Based on that
statement alone you can see how such an expectation of the male gender was
upheld and can affect they lives. When he says that I’m too strong, he means
that in a passive-aggressive manner, the strength he is referring to is simply
the mask that one puts on to hide these emotions, it isn’t true strength. ” there’s a bluebird in my heart
that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him”. He also takes part in acts
that he may not even want to do but just so he can cover his emotions and make
the world think he is lacking such feelings. ”I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke and the whores and the bartender never know that he’s in
there”. The writer repeatedly writes “there’s a bluebird in my heart that wants
to get out but I’m too tough for him”.  He is referring to his emotions,
but then quickly says that he is too tough for it to escape the restrictions of
his heart.  During the twentieth century a lot of female movement and or
progression was suppressed and is looked back at especially at a time like now
which heavily overshadowed what men had to uphold, the humanity that all people
had which they had to hide away. Its like telling someone they cannot eat or at
least not in public because society shuns such an action, but we are human
beings and eating is a necessity or a natural function. That is the kind of
pressure men had to go through when they had to adhere to society’s critique of
the male characteristics.

Using
this metaphor, the author manages to better represent the idea of his emotions,
making the reader imagine a caged bird, who is dying. The bluebird in the poem
is a symbolism for the sensitivity, the vulnerability, the softness and
tenderness of the soul. Even the color of the bird says a lot about the kind of
the emotion that is repressed, blue. This color is often associated with
sadness or depression. With the help of the bluebird, a bird with delicate
wings, the heart’s fragile and softest emotions are brought forward.  The
death of this bird would represent the loss of all innocence, and as a result,
one would become a mere shell of a person. Closer to that of a robot than
to a human in my opinion. The metaphors alcohol, smoking and prostitution were
used as a reference to escapism which is the seeking of distractions from
unpleasant realities. The speaker says these are used to suppress his feelings
yet still some of these usually go the opposite route which creates a literary
paradox. ”For example, drinking usually ends up forcing someone to reveal
their feelings yet the writer is using it as a means to suppress them.”(Makaylaheisler). This helps to
further show the struggle the speaker is probably going through. Emotion is
what makes us exposed.  The poem declares this by saying he hides his
emotions to help mask his vulnerability from the outside world, afraid of being
judged.  Bukowski says that he hides these emotions and treats them as
weakness, as the world sees it as non-masculine.  However, emotions also unavoidably
seep out, and Bukowski admits to this; “but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes when everybody’s asleep.”  Him being a reference to the
bluebird representing his feelings, he lets them out at night, but then quickly
denies ‘weeping’ at all, as though he wanted to end the poem off with a real
idea of how emotions are masked. ”It’s nice enough to make a man weep, but I
don’t weep, do you?”. This makes me think that this is what numerous men had
to do in their own time of privacy during that time period because it all come
down to basics that we are all humans and emotions is a big part of what gives us
our humanity so for someone to just eliminate something such as that out of
their actual being has either the part of their brain that controls emotions
damaged or they were raised by animals.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

”The
poem is set at a time when Bukowski portrayed his philosophies over the
portrayal of the rough and strong image of a man, who might be vulnerable and
breaking inside” (Kristal Marie). As a strenuous child during his childhood,
he had learnt to keep most of his emotions away from display, and that was how
the mentality he had developed of showing a rough exterior. However, with the
passage of time, and the progress of his age, he had learnt that the
sentimental part of him is present, he had learnt to acknowledge and accept it.
”With acceptance he also knows that he keeps it hidden from the people around
him but comes out during his solace. This depicts the agony of a man to bear
the social stigma that men do not cry.”(Makaylaheisler).
Looking at such practices in the past and comparing it to current times it is
quite a 180. Compared to then, the male gender has a lot more wiggle room when
it comes to the display of ‘bluebird’ like emotions. The use of personification
is also practiced whereas the bluebird itself is personified as the poet talk
about it, asking it questions, pours whiskey on it and also makes a pact with
it.

The
tone of the poem is one of depression accompanied by a sense of guilt mixed
with accusation. The feeling that the society do not accept the ones who
express themselves brings a sense of sadness while the realization that we
possess such feelings and are in denial of those brings a sense of guilt and
accusation. The society must be accused but we should be accused for accepting
this system itself. A system of society where genuine emotions is lacking is not
worth living in. The central theme deals with the delicate emotions
residing in the deepest corners of our heart that struggles to come out. ”Along
with it, the theme of social norms that needs to be broken. These social norms
include, “men do not cry”, “Crying is the portrayal of weakness” are the worst
a human being can face.” (Kristel Marie). The poem brings up the truth that we
have to acknowledge these emotions and deal with them, effectively, rather than
living in denial. As one slowly gets older, one realizes that the image they
portray to the outside world do not correspond to that of the vulnerability and
the fragile, tenderness of our heart. We depict to be stronger, which we
aren’t. Drinking, smoking and doing so many other harmful things, we distract
ourselves to hide these emotions when they overpower us and eventually deal
with them in the darkness of the night in our privacy. This universal idea makes
the poem highly relatable hence its popularity. Nonetheless, this
“Bluebird” is still a part of the speaker and only releasing it in
the confines of his own privacy is the only chance he gets to do so without
being judged by society. This vividly portrays idea of inner vulnerability
within oneself, a weakness and innermost torment. The overall statement within
this poem dishes off a depressive tone and a hypercritical setting.

 

Reflection

Doing
this analysis, I was able to focus on the male characteristics and expectations
based on society within the twentieth century and compare it to that of the
female role around that time as well as their expectations even more so linking
the current standards to that portrayed within the poem. This assignment
allowed me to demonstrate the knowledge of the impact of culture whereas each
society’s standard of men were expected to be upheld, gender and ethics where
those critiques where very overwhelming for a human being no matter the sex yet
it was still followed by society which is ironic because it was a quite a male
hierarchy back in those days so with the men having so much influence they
could curve society’s views on their display of a soft emotion. The challenge
with this assignment was trying to imagine how did people truly react to a male
that displayed such emotions as opposed to today’s twenty first century
society. I realized that I favor an imagist style of writing compared to the
others as well as surrealist where the mind speaks freely.