Sunday, 2 December 2018

Analysis of Giuseppe by Roderick Ford

This article is an analysis of the poem Giuseppe by Roderick Ford.

About the Giuseppe Poem / Summary

We're going to look at Roderick Ford's poem Giuseppe. It's a poem that kind of explores what it means to be hungry and starvation during the Second World War in Italy. The desperation people have during wartime.

I think there was a rumor that they killed well I know that is true that in some places that zoo animals were all slaughtered for meat in times of siege or in times of starvation. This poem is playing on that and the speaker is talking to his uncle and exploring how he feels about this. And it'd be totally normal even though sad completely normal to kill all the animals in a zoo perhaps or an aquarium.

But what's unusual about this poem is they killed the mermaid the only mermaid ever captivated. And what that does is just changing that one detail transforms this in from a poem that's kind of an account of desperation and life during wartime into something much creepier much more of a violation something far more haunting.

Analysis of Giuseppe

My Uncle Giuseppe told me
that in Sicily in World War Two,
in the courtyard behind the aquarium,
where the bougainvillea grows so well,
the only captive mermaid in the world
was butchered on the dry and dusty ground
by a doctor, a fishmonger, and certain others.
You see this detail is a diversion is a digression and that makes it feel like it's it's just a story. It's just going to be like any old story behind the aquarium well what happened. Well, something really strange the only captive mermaid in the world was butchered on the dry and dusty ground by a doctor of fishmonger and certain others.

So we have the set we have a the brutal action. We have the setting the aquarium but the dry and dusty ground really contrasts with what you'd imagine a mermaid's world would be. Then you get almost you know butcher baker and candlestick maker kind of doctor fishmonger and certain others.

But there's something about this ominous creepy little phrase that makes me think it's a conspiracy there's something worse there's something very dark to what's happened.
She, it, had never learned to speak
because she was simple, or so they’d said,
but the priest who held one of her hands
while her throat was cut,
said she was only a fish, and fish can’t speak.
But she screamed like a woman in terrible fear.
'She, it' that is a very very subtle thing well which is it. And it's important because if it's in it it's okay. But if it's a she then this is something cannibalistic forbidden something disgusting. And that kind of hesitation again makes us think of speech someone speaking.

It had never learned to speak because she was simple or so they'd said there's a distrust here I mean they said she couldn't speak. That's what they said she was simple meaning humans should basic understanding.

But the priest who held one of her hands while her throat was cut said she was only a fish and fish can't speak. Here we get the church how corrupted the churches because held her hands while her throat was cut and insisting they can't speak I mean they said it. Even though that's the case Giuseppe lets us know she screamed like a woman in terrible fear I mean what's really interesting is the simile.

There's the fight in this stanza between is this a human is this known and to use that simile really emphasizes that difficulty. Because look, if she screamed like a woman the priest, is telling you they're not they can't speak and they're not human what's the problem.
And when they took a ripe golden roe
from her side, the doctor said
this was proof she was just a fish
and anyway an egg is not a child,
but refused when some was offered to him. 
And when they took a right Golden roe beautiful description. It's a fish egg but it's huge because she's a human from her side. The doctor said this was proof she was just a fish look guys it's proof they need proof because they need it to be just a fish.

Anyway, an egg is not a child but refused when someone's offered to him. So even though he's convinced these eggs are not proof that she's just a fish and that an egg isn't a child even then refused. This image is both gorgeous, luminous, beautiful and horrific. You really see the contrast in this poem.
Then they put her head and her hands
in a box for burial
and someone tried to take her wedding ring,
but the others stopped him,
and the ring stayed put.
'Then they put her head on her hands' they put her head and her hands in a box for burial for someone tried to take. She's not human but she still deserves a burial and someone tried to take her wedding ring. But the other stopped him and the ring stayed put.

There's a hidden story here something hidden it seems there are limits. Okay, it's a fish but you don't take away the red wedding ring. We won't eat their hands or their head. Those are things that make them or make them seem human. Those are the things that were buried and deserve attention.
The rest they cooked and fed to the troops.
They said a large fish had been found on the beach. 
'They the rest they cooked and fed to the troops'. So here's the necessity of war of doing things of cooking of feeding. They said a large fish had been found at the beach if she wasn't a girl why lie.
Starvation forgives men many things,
my uncle, the aquarium keeper, said,
but couldn’t look me in the eye,
for which I thank God.
'Starvation forgives men many things'. Now here we're in the real theme of the poem. 'My uncle the aquarium keeper said' he said that but he couldn't look me in the eye for which I thank God. He's lying to himself maybe. He can't be honest and nor is the speaker of this poem.

analysis-of-giuseppe-by-roderick-ford


He wants to tell himself the lie too that because you're hungry because you need something. It can erase your guilt but nonetheless, guilt is very present in this poem. As I do believe it is in Lammas Hireling and to look at it really close in different parts of the poem. You can really see and exploit how to interpret this poem and how to find that guilt on the tension between the she in the air.

And the very regular details juxtaposed or made magical fearful and horrific by the fact that maybe this mermaid was indeed a woman.

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