Essay #2: Explication
English 1121(Prof. Scalan)
April 13th, 2020
Explication: “The Bridge”
Hart Crane’s poem “The Bridge,”(350) is a formal poem. It has eleven stanzas. The poem is a visual depiction of American life, using the Brooklyn Bridge as the centerpiece, or center image. The poet is painting a picture of Brooklyn at, or along the east river. Two lines from the fifth stanza really intrigues me. Picking those two lines from the poem, I will explicate it, and break it down as much as I can. The lines are, “Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft/A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets.” These lines talk about, in a literal context, a lunatic moving around on a subway.
Looking at the first line, “Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft,” I can find the meaning of the line by looking at the denotation and connotations of the words. First word is “subway” which in the denotation means an underground railway. The connotation for this word is an underground route for pipes, sewers, etc. The common thing between these two meanings is that both refer to something underground, or below grade. The next word is “scuttle” which the denotation is, a container like an open bucket(usually for carrying coal). The connotation means, a small hatch or opening that provides access to the roof from the interior of a building. In the line the poet uses literary devices of assonance, alliteration, and consonance. An example of assonance in the first line is, “Out Of sOme sUbway scUttle, cell Or lOft.”
Subway as commonly known is a means of transportation on a train running underground. A train is a carrier, which in this city carries millions of people to their destinations. So in this case, it could mean any of the New York City sewer systems which carries waste away from the city. Since New York City subway cars do not have scuttles, it is fair to conclude that whichever person came out of that place, was coming out of a sewer hole. As commonly known, not everything that comes out sewers are good.
On to the second line, “A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,” two words stand out. “Bedlamite” and “parapets.” Denotation of bedlamite is a lunatic, or a madman. And the denotation for parapet as commonly known is a perimeter wall that extends above the roof. Linking this to the first line, it makes sense that a lunatic would emerge from the sewers, because that would be where he or she dwells.