This Is Just to Say Questions and Answers
by William Carlos Williams

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Describe how "This Is Just to Say" evokes emotions of surprise.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that one of the most surprising elements of the poem is how it sounds so open and so honest a communication between two people. The stanzaed form of the poem as well as the cadence help to make it a poem.  Yet, I would suggest that it is so surprising because it takes something so regular in real life and "poeticizes" it.  In lyricizing the regular, common, and every day experience of individuals, Williams seems to be suggesting that there is a poetic quality in the world around us.  It is up to the individual to see it.  The poetry is there.  What appears to be a random note about eating plums in an ice- box helps to represent this idea.  It is in this idea that the poem where the poem is so surprising.  There is a notion of surprise in terms of how badly the speaker feels about what is done.  In asking for forgiveness and seeking to explain the actions taken, Williams is able to make the speaker of the poem find an element of spirituality in something so ordinary.  Hence, like poetry, spiritual identity exists in our world and it is up to the individual, like poetry, to find it in the daily actions of consciousness and being in the world.

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