In the poem "Crutches" by Bertolt Brecht, what are the deeper meanings of these lines? What does the poet want to convey?1) He replied: that's not surprising. 2) Fall then! Crawl across the floor!...

In the poem "Crutches" by Bertolt Brecht, what are the deeper meanings of these lines? What does the poet want to convey?

1) He replied: that's not surprising.

2) Fall then! Crawl across the floor!

3) Well, I'm cured now; i can walk

Cured by nothing more than laughter.

4) Sometimes though, when I see sticks

I walk worse for some hours after.

Asked on by kimoyo

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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The deeper meanings have everything to do with the treatment of the topic of self-limitation, which is what the doctor is trying to work against with this very self-limiting client.

When it is said that: "That is not surprising" it simply is a reinstatement of the fact that the doctor believes how little the patient wants to help himself. Conversely, the patient is so bent in the idea that he is lame that nothing that the doctor says is surprising to him either. It is a no-win situation unless the patient takes the first step.

The second statement is the doctor's way of confronting the patient's worse fear: Falling. In not so many words, the doctor is stating that if you fall, you crawl, but keep moving. That is quite powerful: No matter how badly we fall in life, the worst thing we can do is remain laying flat down. Just squirm, crawl, move...do something.

The last two statements make for the comedic element of the poem. The patient has finally stopped limiting himself and has "found the cure" in laughter. The doctor has really not done anything but tell the patient that he is alright. The whole thing is comical because here we see a man who has never had a problem celebrating a miracle cure that never took place.

In the end, when the patient says that he sees the crutches and walks funny is a natural reaction of all of us who once suffered a trauma. His trauma was his belief that he was lame and limp. It is understandable that seeing the very objects that he used to feel safe would revert him to a helpless stage. However, it is good to see that the patient never goes back to the crutches. They were burned for good.

uchiyarada's profile pic

uchiyarada | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

All of us depend on some form or other crutches to Evade responsibility,as an exuse or as an mere Escape from the problems we face. Most of us suffer from psychological lameness,that prevents us walking by our own. The physician in the poem adopts different forms of persuasion,explanation,firmness and finally a cruel insult. When everything fails, the challenge thrown by the insulting laughter succeeds

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