Essay on Abandoned Farmhouse by Ted Kooser
982 WordsMay 8th, 20134 Pages
Dr. Robert Kellerman
March 26, 2013
Their World in Ruins:
“Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser
The objects people keep in their homes can tell a story about who they are or were. Each item possessed by the residents of a house is evidence of how these people may have lived. Ted Kooser’s poem “Abandoned Farmhouse” takes the reader on a walkthrough of the remains of a farmhouse where a poor family once lived. In “Abandoned Farmhouse,” Kooser selects seemingly insignificant relics left behind by each family member to illustrate who these people were and how they lived. The picture he paints is a bleak one and reflects the impoverished life which the residents lived within this now lonely and desolate building.…show more content…
Whether this is because of laziness or some other unseen aspect, readers must assume themselves.
Kooser also takes time to emphasize the man’s Bible. There was a Bible found in an upstairs room “with a broken back on the floor, dusty with sun” (4). The Bible says more than first appears. The broken back on the Bible might suggest that “he was a good, God-fearing man” (4) who spent a lot of time reading. Perhaps it means that the man had a temper and threw the Bible in a fit of anger. He could still be a God-fearing man even if he had a temper; the quality of his “God-fearing” is unknown to us. The Bible “on the floor below the window, dusty with sun” (6) makes it seem as though he may have used the sun for light because they were too poor and were unable to pay their bills.
The poem hints that a woman lived with the man in the old farmhouse and that she appeared to be a homemaker. Kooser makes this known when the speaker mentions “the bedroom wall papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves covered with oilcloth” (10-11). The food choices that the woman had available to feed the family really makes the reader think about the poverty that they may have lived: “money was scarce say the jars of plum preserves and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole” (13-14). What food they had needed to last, as the man had failed to produce any food for his family in his untended fields.
The man living in the abandoned farmhouse was, in fact, not an effective farmer, “say the
"If I write it's to remember, to wake up my sleeping soul, bring my brain to life and discover its secret passageways." Mario Levrero used writing as a tool to connect to his subconscious, and the hidden gems he unearthed were far from anything that resembled the mainstream literature of his time. What's most often said about Mario Levrero's writing is that it's "raro," a term which can be translated as "strange," "weird," or even "rare." I prefer "odd" as in "the odd man out"; Levrero's work does not fit into any established literary genre. This made Levrero too "odd" for a broad public and for most of his literary career his work was read only by the initiated few.
Levrero's writing has been called fantastical, delirious, bold, bizarre; he drew influence from a range of sources, from Kafka to Carroll to sci-fi, pulp fiction, surrealism, and psychoanalysis. Levrero's styles are as varied as were his interests because he saw writing as an expression of his inner self. "I am the subject of my writing. I write to write myself; it's an auto-construction." In "The Abandoned House," as the house's select group of "fans" gather round to inspect the engineering marvel created by an ant, the last line of the story expresses Levrero's philosophy on writing: "Everyone takes out magnifying glasses; they focus in on the details, applauding the complexity of the work and the symmetry of the sticks. I prefer to look at the structure as a whole. I think that it's beautiful and that its shape resembles, in a way, an ant."
Levrero believed that in order to truly connect with the reader, writing must necessarily contain a piece of the author's soul. When a soul-to-soul connection is achieved the reader makes the text their own, conjuring vivid images from their personal sensory experience. Although this story was written nearly fifty years ago, it feels alive and effervescent; despite the dirt and decay and the lurking dangers, "The Abandoned House," is for me a cheerful place filled with vibrant, happy colors. But that's just my version. Read on to discover yours.