Jacques Prévert

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Discuss the silent conflict between the couple in "Breakfast" by Jacques Prévert.

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A discussion of the poem ''Breakfast'' by Jaques Prévert could examine how the conflict between two people is presented through the silence of one man, as well as note that the poem’s speaker does not indicate if they speak to the man before he leaves. After the man leaves, the speaker cries. The poem implies that the two people are experiencing conflict but not communicating about it.

The poem seems to present a couple, but the individuals' relationship is not specified. A man, identified only as “he,” is having coffee and a cigarette, then puts on a hat and raincoat, then leaves the room and apparently the building. The poem’s first-person speaker is also unnamed. The speaker clearly notes the man’s silence and emphasizes it through repetition. They indicate at various points the actions that the man performed “without any word to me,” repeating the same phrase three times. These actions include putting down the coffee cup twice, shaking cigarette ash into an ashtray, and leaving to go out into the rain. The speaker also says twice that the man did not look at them; he did those things “without any look at me.”

The speaker does not say if they speak to the man. The speaker could also be silent, or they could be talking to the man but getting no answer. After the silent man leaves, the speaker “cried.”

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