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What is the interpretation of this poem "Alzheimer's" by Kelly Cherry?

The interpretation of "Alzheimer's" could look at the confusion and careful development of word choice that the narrator projects onto the "crazy old man." This poem encapsulates the confusion and stress the man feels on the way back from his hospital, and the blankness of his inability to recognize his wife.

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The poem "Alzheimer's" by Kelly Cherry deals with a disease that is the most common form of dementia and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Patients with Alzheimer's disease experience a buildup of plaque and loss of nerve cell connections in the brain. This causes them to experience ever-increasing memory loss. Early stages may include difficulty remembering recent events and having trouble understanding what others have said. Later, victims may forget where they live, who their family members are, and the names of common objects. In advanced stages, Alzheimer's sometimes...

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mkcapen1 | Student

The poem "Alzheimer's" begins by showing a current state of the man.  We are introduced to his character as having odd objects in his possession such as the piggy bank and the book.  The reader is made aware that the man can no longer read because he fakes it with his book.  Around him are issues in conflict much like the state of his mind; For example, "Roses and columbine slug it out for space, claw the mortar."  Yet, the man has familiars in his life such as the sun shining and the rain. 

Following the familiar things arrives the turmoil such as the sparks flying off and burning the bushes.  While this may be reflected sunlight, to the man it is unfamiliar, and he can not perceive it as the sunlight.

Again he remembers his past and the improvements he had made to the property.  He remembers himself as a younger man and recalls loving music, but once again he is drawn back into a state of confusion.  In the state of forgotten memories music is only a noise. 

He pulled into the present away from comforting memories and he is there with no memory of his wife who is in the doorway.

The poet illustrates the dynamics of Alzheimer which causes its victims to move in and out of short term and long term memory.

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