Explain the theme of the poem "Solace". Solace By Dorothy Parker There was a rose that faded young; I saw its shattered beauty hung Upon a broken stem. I heard them say, "What need to care...

Explain the theme of the poem "Solace".

Solace
By Dorothy Parker

There was a rose that faded young;
I saw its shattered beauty hung
Upon a broken stem.
I heard them say, "What need to care
With roses budding everywhere?"
I did not answer them.

There was a bird brought down to die;
They said, "A hundred fill the sky--
What reason to be sad?"
There was a girl whose love fled;
I did not wait the while they said,
"There's many another lad."

Asked on by sokalex

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

Posted on

Certainly, one of the themes that comes out of Parker's poem is the collision between individual and society.  The individual is shown to be poised and positioned against the wishes of the greater social order.  When the unique beauty of the flower is gone and the flower dies, the rationalization that society offers is that there are many more.  When the unique individuality of the bird's flight is taken down, there are rationalizations offered to show that there are many more.  Individual beauty and distinctiveness is set aside for social expectations and norms.  This becomes a theme in the poem, one in which Parker as the poet makes clear that individuals seeking social embraces might not be entirely fortunate.  There is a social conformity that detracts from the individuality of the person.  This theme is seen in the closing of the poem, where the speaker herself flees from the clutches of a normalizing social order.  The theme of individual against society is something that occupies importance in Parker's poem, speaking powerfully to how there can be a mutually exclusive condition between both forces.

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