Explain the expressions of positive attitudes about life, using examples from "Lucinda Matlock" and "Fiddler Jones" in Spoon River Anthology. Expressions of positive attitudes about life in "Lucinda Matlock" and "Fiddler Jones."

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Lucinda Matlock's epitaph is quite positive. She notes how she met her husband and that they lived together for 70 years. Despite the fact that eight of her twelve children died before she reached the age of 60, Lucinda seems very satisfied with how she'd lived her life. She even sounds full of life: "Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys."

Lucinda admonishes those who are angry or discontent with their lives. She concludes with, "It takes life to love life." Struggle is a part of life. To love life, one must deal with struggle while appreciating life's blessings.

Fiddler Jones was content with his forty acres. He never gained more. And he was always ready to put aside work and enjoy life.

And I never started to plow in my life
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.

He concludes by saying he has no regrets. Early in the poem, lines 3-4, Jones gives a metaphor of how to enjoy life.

And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.

Whatever gifts you have, whatever you can offer to others, and/or whatever makes you happy: you must engage in these things if you wish to enjoy life. Jones fiddled all of his life. This could be interpreted quite literally, but "fiddling" also implies playing, wasting time, doing seemingly trivial things, and even engaging in illegal activity. As far as Jones is concerned, he made the most of his life because where some people saw opportunity for work, he saw opportunity for play and exploration.

What do you see, a harvest of clover?
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?


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