, Research Paper
Are lobsters similar to man? In Howard Nemerov s poem Lobsters, there is a contrast made between the lives of lobsters to the lives of mankind. The speaker uses certain images to set up the reader for the implicit meaning of the poem. The meaning is found at the end of the poem and could be summarized: There is something cruel underneath the world and eventually over time will bring mankind to its death. Nemerov uses the lobsters eventual death, The flame beneath the pot that boils the water to bring attention to the meaning.
In this poem, there is a great deal of vivid imagery used to describe the lobsters. For instance, In the beginning of the poem, Nemerov takes the simple name of a supermarket Super Duper to give the image of a tank full of lobsters. The author at the beginning uses great analogies that set the reader up for the meaning of the poem. For example, the author uses the supermarket as a place of cruelty. Here at the Super Duper, in a glass tank supplied by a rill of cold fresh water, a herd of lobsters made available to the customer. In relation to the meaning: Can we humans be stuck or trapped in a world just as these lobsters are?
The second stanza goes along with the first in that the author uses more imagery and description. However, he uses more description of the lobsters themselves. Nemerov states, Mud red, bruise purple, cadaver green, speckled with black, their camouflage at home, Make them conspicuous here in the strong Day imitating light, the incommensurable philosophers and at the same time victims herded together in the market place. In this stanza, the author does a magnificent job of imagery comparing a lobster to a human. The colors bruise purple and cadaver green are also images that relate to the meaning of the poem. Bruise and cadaver are both human characteristics that can be found to help set up the reader for the meaning. Bruises are wounds that are collected over the years by human beings; cadavers are the final products of death. Day-imitating light is an image used in reference to natural sunlight; which is a relation to human life. The author wonderfully interweaves human characteristics with the description of lobsters in order to show the similarity between them.
Also, the author writes, victims herded together in the market place. As lobsters are trapped and are victims of a marketplace, humans also can be trapped in their own world, as either victims of a cruel unknown, or maybe, victims of a higher being.
The first two stanzas set the readers up for the meaning. Nemerov states, We inlanders, buying our needful food, pause over these slow, gigantic spiders that spin not. Thinking, There s something underneath the world. The flame beneath the pot that boils the water. As humans we re capable to freely control the lobsters; is there a higher being that may control us? Just as the flame beneath the pot killed off the lobsters, the author gets the reader to wonder; what is the flame that will destroy mankind over a period of time?