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Symbol, Allusion, and Myth in Irving Layton’s Rhine Boat Trip

Symbol, Allusion, and Myth in Irving Layton’s Rhine Boat Trip

“…haunted/by the ghosts of Jewish mothers/looking for their ghostly Children” (Layton). Though physical evidence of the Holocaust is now slightly limited, as time tends to destroy the tangible, the cry for justice and the remembrance of systematic genocide by a sadistic people enacting ignorant dogma will ring indefinitely throughout the world. Humanity will always be guilty of the atrocities that it instigates. Irving Layton, in his poem, Rhine Boat Trip, depicts the eternal evidence of the Nazi Crime, a stain of culpability that is reducible from all who have witnessed it. Layton is able to portray the onus of this horrific event through his employment of symbolism, allusion, and myth.

The everlasting, inescapable pain of the Holocaust is so imbedded in our culture that our senses can become paralyzed by the enormity of its reverberation through the years since the last chimney fire in Aushwitz was snuffed. Through his use of symbolism, Layton is able to -it a picture in the minds of his readers, one that juxtaposes the subject matter with his choice of diction.

Beginning with the title, Rhine Boat Trip, symbolism is installed in the poem. A boat trip on the Rhine is thought to be a journey through the ultimate bucolic paradise. What is encountered on this scenic route; however is far from the ideal vacation experience. Layton creates an ironic dichotomy between a life of luxury and intense human suffering. When the boat visits castles along the Rhine, its passengers are really witnessing the remnants of wealth accumulated by the Nazis from slave labor in concentration camps, a cruel practice that quickly stimulated the struggling German econom…

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…rnatural power.

Even the voices of the Lorelei, which sailors could not drown out of their ears, are ineffectual and in audible when the beauty of nature is tainted by the barbarity it has given to, forever reminded of the supremacist desire that went too far. Even the most serene places of the Rhine, are filled of reminders of a massive suffering and a people who could not face the truth of the wickedness found in the Aryan race for dominance.

Irving Layton’s poem, Rhine Boat Tdp, depicts the immortality of the legacy left by those who were murdered, a legacy of remembrance they left in every breath of humanity, eternally seared with its guilt. Layton illustrates his message by expertly using literary devices such as symbolism, allusion, and myth. He is able to paint in the mind of the reader an unforgettable picture of human flaw and the karma of crime.

Free Scarlet Letter Essay: Is Hester Patterned after Anne Hutchinson?

Is The Scarlet Letter’s Hester Patterned after Anne Hutchinson?

Four Works Cited There are some things that could have happened to Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter if she had followed the footsteps of Anne Hutchinson. Anne Hutchinson believed differently from most Puritans in the 1640’s. She held these beliefs with all her heart. People did not like her for that so they banished her. Hester Prynne commits adultery, but she handles it differently than Anne. She does not believe with all her heart that it was the right thing to do, so she is not punished as severely as Anne was. Hester begins by doing something against the authorities but she handles it differently than Anne did.

In chapter one of The Scarlet Letter, Anne Hutchinson is considered a heroine because of her imprisonment. The chapter describes a rosebush that grew from where Anne had stepped into the prison. Rose bushes are usually associated with passion (beauty plus pain) or the church (as in Dante). Anne had a passion about her beliefs about the church and is a heroine. This rose bush grew in memory of her.

Hester Prynne herself walks into this prison for almost the same reason as Anne Hutchinson. Hester had a passion symbolized by the rose also. She had a different kind of passion, though. It was not for her beliefs, but for a man of the church, Rev. Dimmesdale. This passion was in the church (the rose) but people in the church opposed this passion, just as they opposed Anne Hutchinson. The rose symbolizes what happened to both women.

Right away Anne was considered a threat to authority because of her growing number of followers. People said her meetings were disorderly, but she said she was following God. Mostly because she was being more than a wife and mother and going above her place as a woman, the church banished her. The church leadership was getting upset because she had said that certain pastors were wrong and that people should live only under a “Covenant of Grace,” not works, something which sounded like antinomianism. They figured that getting rid of her was the only answer.

Hester had really done something wrong and deserved punishment according to the law. She had to wear a scarlet letter A. The way she handles the punishment is very different from Anne Hutchison.

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