What does Geraldine Connolly's poem "The Summer I Was Sixteen" have to do with the utopian concept?

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Generally, utopia refers to an ideal society. The society in utopian literature contains no flaws, is perfectly governed, and sustains happiness for all involved.

In Geraldine Connolly's poem "The Summer I Was Sixteen" it is suggested that a utopia exists within the "chain link fence" in the final stanza. "tossing a glance/ through the chain-link at an improbable world"

Throughout the poem, Connolly refers to an idealized version of her sixteenth year. "We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy" "sweet as furtive kisses" etc. The problems that surely occurred during her sixteenth year of life are not mentioned. This is why the poem is utopian. The word Utopia comes from roots meaning "no place" because no truly utopian place exists. Connolly's sixteenth year surely had flaws although they are not presented. Just as no perfect place exists, no supremely perfect year exists.


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