Analysis & Reflection Essay of A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky by Lewis Carrol
When I was given the opportunities to choose a poem for my Honors Language Arts class, my attention was attracted to the bold name of Lewis Carroll that stood below the title link to “A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky”.
The innuendo regarding the boat in the poem was all attraction to my eye as I have a long history with seafaring vessels, as my father is deeply connected with that industry, as I also grew up from a young age in Bristol, RI by the ocean and in Newburyport, MA one of the largest sea towns in the North Shore of Massachusetts, with a population of just under 20,000 people living in the surrounding area it is one of the three northernmost towns in the state, situated at the mouth of the Merrimack River. My favorite stanza from this poem, the final stanza in the poem, goes as so: Ever drifting down the stream — Lingering in the golden gleam — Life, what is it but a dream? I enjoy this stanza based on the imagery of the forever drifting row boat, tempered with and manipulated by the currents of the stream, small slits of light that peak through the undergrowth of the shore nearby, and the deep question of the final life. An honest and bold question, “Life, what is it but a dream?” When reading these final lines that tie together the conclusion of Carroll’s thoughts, I think of paintings by Winslow Homer, with a castaway in the eye of storm, surrounded by sharks, without hope, resting on his final strength. This painting represents the darker side of life as Carroll states in his fourth stanza of the poem. It depicts the ignorance, the suffering, and the sadness that we as humans are forced to endure as a result of our original sin.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise, Alice moving under skies Never seen by waking eyes. On the lighter side, returning to Carroll’s final stanza, I was constantly recalling a painting that was done by Claude Oscar Monet in the late 1880s. This painting, titled the “In the Norwegian” depict three young women (Monet’s stepdaughters) fishing from a small rowboat on a small stream in France. The painting shows a lovely background of ivy and flora, along with light stretching along the water like the shadow of a building enveloping and blocking out the light from those passing by it’s mighty stance. The painting in my opinion shares the same values of the final stanza in the poem, which holds an opposing stance on the fourth stanza. It depicts light, happiness, hope, and the ever-blossoming flower that is life.
I personally believe that poem is structured to represent the stages of life, and the tone of each stage by the author is an extension of his emotion towards each stage. As the poem begins, the story opens up like birth. Carroll uses shimmering terms such as light, sky, and stream, which are all surrounded around this joyous vessel of life guided by the paddling of its oars towards what there is to see on the journey down the stream that is life. As the vessel continues to move down the stream, it is fraught with other individuals who wish to hear from the rower of this vessel. As it continues furthermore, it realizes how far it has gone down the stream, how little is left, and wonders how those people in the vessel will think of the rower when they are docked at their destination and those people must go out. Would they be thankful for the boat’s journey? Would they sit the there, on a perpendicular, wooden plank for a while waiting to rig the line up to the dock? Maybe they would speak of the journey later.
Regardless of this, the vessel cherishes every second with these people that are in their lives and wishes to share their knowledge with the people who are in their presence, build a relationship with them in the meantime, and make them feel comfortable on every twist and turn, so that when they dock along that wharf, those people who accompanied them on their journey were thankful to have a dependent, loyal, loving vessel that was there to guide them down the stream. True companionship is something that can only be shared between two living creatures in a lifetime. Ias anyone would hope to find a “soul” companion in my lifetime. That missing puzzle piece, that when we are united through acquaintance, we build the adhesive that bonds our edges together and form one unity of flesh, devotion, soul, and love. That’s what this companionship means to me, of which I hope to obtain with another. So Charles Dodgson, or Lewis Carroll if you must, wrote this poem of an experience he ad that inspired his life masterpiece, but he wrote in a deeper form that meant otherwise, Love.