Discuss the significance of the title of the poem "The Pulley."

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A pulley is a simple machine that consists of a wheel over which one might run a rope in order to make it easier to lift something. It allows someone to multiply the force that their body can generate. In this poem, the speaker describes when God created humankind, discussing...

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A pulley is a simple machine that consists of a wheel over which one might run a rope in order to make it easier to lift something. It allows someone to multiply the force that their body can generate. In this poem, the speaker describes when God created humankind, discussing how God wanted to "'pour on [humans] all" God could. He gives us strength and beauty, honor and pleasure, and then God considered whether or not to give us "Rest," the last of the riches in his glass. God decides not to give us the feeling of being rested because God would prefer that we be restless. God feels that our goodness may not lead us to him but weariness will.

In calling the poem, "The Pulley," then, Herbert implies that God uses the benefits of rest to compel us to acknowledge him instead of "[his] gifts" to us. In other words, God leverages this one benefit, as one might leverage their strength, and does not give it to us to make sure that we worship him.

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