How can the last line of the poem Tract, "I think you are ready", emphasize the whole meaning of the poem?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The poem “Tract” by William Carlos Williams is a short poem about a common rite: funerals.  In this poem, the speaker seeks to teach the townspeople how to conduct a funeral.  It is very important to him that they get the funeral right.  A funeral is an important rite, and needs to be treated with dignity.  He compares them to artists in the beginning, saying “you have the ground sense necessary” (line 6). 

The speaker goes on to detail the procedure carefully and enthusiastically, like an artist teaching someone how to use a paintbrush.  It is important to him that every detail is right.  This is evident by the many exclamation points throughout the poem.  He is confident that the townspeople will be ready to hold a perfect funeral as long as they follow his instructions.  Their funeral will be a work of art, by his own “troop of artists.”  So when he says he thinks they are ready, it is because he has laid it all out for them and, in his enthusiasm, expects them to follow his instructions to the letter.


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