The Working Class in “The Red Wheelbarrow”

The idea of simplicity to elicit a sense of imagery in “The Red Wheelbarrow” has essentially been beaten down again and again through repetitive analyses. However, there is more to this poem than just that, and it lies in symbolism of the wheelbarrow. Based on the first line of the poem and the animation in the video above, there is a broader way of thinking about what the wheelbarrow actually resembles, as opposed to noticing that it is just a dormant object covered in rainwater. In fact, the red wheelbarrow serves to elicit the significance of the working class in American society. William Carlos Williams was met by these average, everyday folk through his practice as a physician. Due to his experiences, he wanted to portray this particular aspect of society through his poetry. “The Red Wheelbarrow,” is not simply an object beside some white chickens. The wheelbarrow is the medium through which the hardworking, and perhaps struggling human beings that are trapped in the network of society, use to perform everyday tasks and elicit that sense of putting in the, “elbow grease,” necessary to maintain a living during Williams’ time. The focus on the working class as a central theme in Williams’ poetry is something to be appreciated by all.

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2 Responses to The Working Class in “The Red Wheelbarrow”

  1. 15glh says:

    I really like how you found such strong symbolism in the wheelbarrow from this poem. It is such a simple object, yet after reading your comment I can see that there is a larger meaning. This post would be even better if you mentioned another poem in which the working class is expressed.

  2. 15lr says:

    I really like how you explicitly stated how the symbolism in the poem is often overlooked, but it is still extremely important. You also explained the meaning behind the red wheel barrel well. Could you further explain William’s viewpoint on the relationship between society and the working class as shown in his poem?
    Great job!

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