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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Bootlegging of Seventh Street's Meter and Form

Mentioning that the bootleggers of Seventh Street are wearing silken shirts shows that the money that they make is going towards material goods only. We also see the image of a nice car (a Cadillac) zooming down the street-car tracks. Once again, we see that money is going towards luxuries as opposed to goods that will grow overtime. Despite the expensive cars and clothes mentioned, we see by the lavish spending that money means nothing, giving the reader the impression that poverty is still an issue to the people of Seventh Street. If the money was not mentioned in the context of alcohol, luxuries, and irrelevant goods, it would give the impression that poverty could only be inferred as opposed to proven; since money is mentioned in relation to luxuries only, it can be inferred that poverty is still prevalent on Seventh Street.

The issue of poverty is one of the central focuses of the poem because it is reflected within the poem’s form. The lines that imply lavish spending and poverty intertwined appear as both the first four lines and the last four lines. They are also indented within the poem and offset. This form makes these particular lines the reader’s first and last thoughts as they read. These particular lines also have a specific ending rhyme scheme: aabb. Here, “hurts” rhymes with “shirts,” and “Cadillacs” rhymes with “tracks.” The rhyme, however, is interrupted because of the meter of these four lines. The first and fourth line both contain 9 syllables, while the lines they rhyme with both contain 7 syllables. Such an inconsistency of meter could help the reader’s perspective of the issue the speaker is referring to: an inconsistent use of money.

The majority of the poem, specifically everything except the first and last four lines, is written as prose. Lines 5-22 contain a structure that is not regular, in relation to the first and last sections. There are no ending rhymes or regular meter contained with these lines, unlike the first and last four lines of the poem. The separation of poem and prose within this story forces the reader to question the purpose of these opposing writing styles. Once again, the repeated four-line passage may be for emphasis, explaining why it contains both rhyme and meter. The prose section contains full sentences that defy the regular form, which implies that this section is used as evidence for the repeated passage. With this, our repeated passage then must be the main idea or theme of Seventh Street.

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