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Two Scavengers In A Truck, Two Beautiful People In A Mercedes - Ferlinghetti expresses many views about American society.

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Introduction

Two Scavengers In A Truck, Two Beautiful People In A Mercedes Ferlinghetti expresses many views about American society. The poem describes four people held together for a moment at a red traffic light. There are two scavengers, garbage men 'on their way home' after their round, and two beautiful people, an elegant couple 'on the way to his architect's office'. The garbage men's day ends where the young couple's begins. The poet compares the two pairs in detail, and then seems to ask - at the end of the poem - whether America really is a democracy. Ferlinghetti writes about two sets of people, the garbage men and the people in the Mercedes. ...read more.

Middle

Ferlinghetti uses the shape of the poem to express his view. He does this by making the poem's structure is fairly free. Ferlinghetti doesn't use punctuation; instead, he begins a new line when he wants us to pause whilst we are reading. This slows the poem down and gives us time to appreciate each idea. Ferlinghetti uses other idea and feelings to reveal himself such that for the dustmen, looking at the couple is the same as 'watching some odourless TV ad' (line 29) - the ways of life portrayed seem impossibly perfect. To the garbage men, the couples are almost unreal and their lifestyle is out of reach. ...read more.

Conclusion

Appearances tell us a lot. The rich couple are very fashionable: he has an expensive' hip three-piece linen suit'(line 11) while her blond hair is 'casually coifed' (line 13). On the other hand, the garbage men are grungy (line 17). The younger one has sunglasses & long hair (line 24) just like the Mercedes driver, which forces us to compare the two. The poem is written in the present tense. This gives a sense of immediacy - we feel that the poem is happening now. From a wider perspective, it also suggests that the huge gap between rich and poor is a problem now, too. The language is modern, simple and sometimes colloquial (eg, 'cool couple'). There are short cuts - & is used instead of 'and' (lines 12 and 24). Maisa Ahmad English Literature- Poetry Analysis 09/12/2003 ...read more.

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