In "A River," the poet illustrates the attitude of people who give preference to sensationalism over humanism. Discuss your the views on this topic.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the overall sensibility of the statement is valid.  It seems to me that Ramanunajan is offering a critique on both the artists and the public that fail to acknowledge the vast amount of human suffering that exists in consciousness.  The discussion in the poem of the pregnant woman who died by cause of drowning is of specific mention here.  The poem seems to be suggesting that there is a willful and deliberate ignorance of these realities because people would much rather hear only the "accepted" tales and poets would much rather recycle that which has worked. There is a slight intimation that this is advocated by those in the position of power, for it benefits them to ensure that there is little change in how people think about and view reality.   I think that this is where the sensationalism that is a part of art and its appreciation is valued.  The lack of regard for the real and authentic narratives of struggle is where the humanism is discarded.  I think that this is a strong implication that comes out of the poem, one in which the role of poets and their audiences are questioned in terms of why our art is the way it is and why there is not more discussion about the authentically painful narratives that exist in being.


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