Quotes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 197

1) "I married / in the world’s black night / for warmth / if not repose."

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This quote gives the reader insight into the narrator's reasoning for getting married. They sought a relationship that provided a sense of comfort and safety.

2) "I hid with him / from the long range guns. / We lay leg / in the cupboard, head / in closet."

Niedecker utilizes interesting imagery here, making reference to violence and dismemberment. This may insinuate a disjointedness in the marriage. Given the narrator's desire for warmth and comfort, this could be very distressing for them.

3) "A slit of light / at no bird dawn—"

The lack of birds in the morning mentioned above is symbolic of a lack of love in the marriage. What is dawn without birds? What is marriage without love? It is empty, melancholy, and unsettling without these vital characteristics.

4) "He drank / too much. / I say / I married / and lived unburied. / I thought—"

Here, we see the disjointedness of the marriage referenced earlier in the poem come to fruition. The warm, safe marriage the narrator so longed for has been lost to their partner's alcoholism. The closing line is very compelling, making reference to the expectations one has of marriage.

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