What is the main thesis of the two poems, "To Be in Love" by Gwendolyn Brooks and "Love song: I and Thou" by Alan Dugan

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main thesis, or premise, of the poems by Gwendolyn Brooks and Alan Dugan is the difficulty in attaining any security in love. In her poem "To Be in Love," Brooks poses the uncertainly of this state, the threats to its existence, as well as the whirlwind of experiences involved in the state of love:

His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.

The colorful imagery, the sound devices, and the symbolism in this poem all express the struggle of the woman in love as she fears the loss of her lover in her longing for a more certain world--"the Column of Gold":

You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.

Whereas Brooks's speaker voices her uncertainly and apprehensions that love may lose its expression in a tone of longing, Dugan's speaker, who uses the metaphor of a house for his marriage, expresses his doubts and struggles about love with raw energy and caustic irony:

danced with a purple thumb
    at this house-warming, drunk
with my prime whiskey: rage.
    Oh I spat rage's nails
into the frame-up of my work:
    it held. It settled plumb,....

In "Love Song: I and Thou," love is portrayed as self-crucifixion, a sacrifice of oneself that needs 

    ...a hand to nail the right,
a help, a love, a you, a wife.

Here, too, is truly posed the difficulty in love if one must build, fortify, and crucify oneself in order to establish a union with the other. Then, too, there is a cynicism evinced here if the lover must endure such conditions for the beloved. Love and the human condition are often forces that work against each other, creating an uncertainty that threatens one's security in an illusionary world.

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