The Glass: Poem Analysis And Features

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Anne Carson’s poem “Glass, Irony, and God” is a mix of poetry along with essay, literary criticism, and her narrative technique is quirky, full of inventions, and erudite in nature. The poem “The Glass Essay” contains multiple interpretations of the word “glass” (Carson). In English language, it is something that is transparent, and produces a magnifying effect. While the French word “glace” is ice and mirror. Carson’s verses oscillate from moments of self-revelation that dive into the speaker’s emotional state. The glass functions as a magnifying factor that highlights the themes of transcendence of the self, into a greater and clearer understanding that brings with it a sense of ultimate freedom and liberty.

“The Glass Essay” addresses the necessity of oneself in their own life. The manner in which the self is perceived by the author is of utmost importance as it shows how one perceives things in the greater sense of the term. Carson’s urges to define the battle that she fights within, along with the joy and the confusion, by giving a singular shape to it in terms of a collective sense that is projected to the world without. The situation is always undergoing some change, never stagnant. It constitutes of insight, wisdom, and the discovery of the self – both of the author, and the reader that contributes to the significance of the poem. The essential aspect that creates something lose to a hypnotic effect is the level of association that occurs with the readers and the author, freeing the text from being a readerly text to a writerly text. The creation of the self is carried out in terms of a persona as the writer freely draws lines and dissects her self in a manner she wants to present to the readers. In her diary, she notes, in spite of the initial fear of losing herself, she has the realization that there is no “self” to be lost in the process. Her narrator is strong, and resilient. The role reversal that takes place with the narrator’s mother does not allow the narrator to leave the house. However, being on her own fails to create a sense of intimidation. This beauty of impersonation of the character helps to develop the innate beauty of the personality who is capable of isolating herself, and her life, and hence is capable of initiating private conversations with the reader. The multiplicities present in Carson in the form of the visions of Nudes is a thread that connects the readers to the author in the most intricate and vulnerable manner. Her self also speaks vividly through the words of Emily Bronte, but never quite states the obvious presence of the poet.

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The nine distinct subtitled sections allows a certain solid of structure that lets Carson establish the transcendental self that is captured within the two genres of poetry and non-fiction. The significance of glass in the section where Carson writes –

“My face in the bathroom mirror,

Has white streaks down it.

I rinse the face and return to bed.

Tomorrow I am going to visit my mother. (Carson)”

The clear depiction of Lacan’s Mirror stage that is described as the identification where the transformation that takes place in the subject that is assumed as the image. The image that is created in the poem is that of Carson that continues to reappear throughout her poem with the help of a dissociative use of articles such as “the face” (Carson), and hence the impersonation takes place as she views herself as she gazes in the mirror. The depiction of the Nudes can be argued as the reiteration of the two pictures, as Foucault ponders over the disconnection of the two images, which can be interpreted as two different depictions of one thing. The nudes are identical, representing the same image of the self, but from distinctly different angles. However, the Carson only allows glimpse into her real world, she refrains herself from swinging the door open for the readers to see herself as an entire self.

In conclusion, the climax of the poem is offered to the readers at the very end as Carson writes the arrival of Nude#13 (Carson). By stating that the arrival was unanticipated, the readers come to know that the transformation that takes place within does not always occur in a manner that can be assimilated. The Speaker and the “I” dissociate, followed by the birth of Carson. She is able to liberate herself as she blows away the dust of the shelves and the chaos brought by the Nudes.  


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