Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Growth of a Groundhog

By
More by this author
The life of someone constantly changes throughout their entire lifetime, whether through perspective, emotion, a memory, or even life & death. When we grow into each new stage of our lives & grow out of what can be said as our youth, we gain but also leave something behind. In the poem The Groundhog, written by Richard Eberhart, the character progresses through a handful of months but continues to go back to a particular spot where a carcass of what is left of groundhog remains. From every seasonal transition from summer to autumn back to summer, we follow this particular individual as they look over these memorable remains. And while the seasons change so does the individual, through the words of Eberhart.

In the beginning of the poem, the character possesses this connection with this “naked frailty.” Eberhart uses words like “my senses shook...half with loathing, half with a strange love...praying for joy in the sight of the decay,” to illustrate the individual’s emotional sympathy, tenderness, & poignant towards this unknown corpse. Somehow the person felt so overwhelmed by this lifeless animal, that he expresses this sadness within his being that wishes strangely that the groundhog did not have to die. He opens his heart & fills it with all these unpredicted feelings, as if this creature was his blood brother or closest friend. After a spontaneous wake the person leaves to only return again back in the fall.

As the individual once again comes back to “the bony sodden hulk,” Eberhart expresses this new matured outlook on what is left of this groundhog. In contrast to the character’s beginning reactions to the body, they now perceive this once whole creature as something that has “lost its meaning.” The once suffocated feelings that fought to break free from the surface of this person have now died away, similar to “the sap gone out of the groundhog.” They now leave the exposed being without the slightest bit of mercy, in order to continue live life but sometime later they “chanced upon the spot.”

The singular last time the character’s eyes will possess the “little hair left, & bones…” of this once motionless groundhog will be the conclusion of this character’s short lived connection to this particular spot. The individual now looks onto “bones bleaching in the sunlight,” & recognizes them through settled eyes as a beautiful work of “architecture.” The character no longer expresses feeling towards this long-standing object of memory but glimpses at the legacy of a former mammal. Eberhart expresses the individual’s new concept on the groundhog through a parallelism of thoughts, “Alexander in his tent...Montaigne in his tower…Saint Theresa in her wild lamen.” By exposing each of the historical people in the poem he shows off the legacy each had upon the world, & how this groundhog relates to them.

In conclusion The Groundhog, expressed through the words of Richard Eberhart is a memorable poem that portrays the growth a person can have in a short period time. The character as whole develops & ages throughout the poem, while the groundhog loses what life he once had. To summarize, as life goes on whether through the body of a groundhog or the eyes of a human, we all must develop new perspectives of the world to survive.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback