Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. John McKenna
Never before has society so imminently faced the breakup of its basic cell—the traditional family—or in great numbers than in the last half of the twentieth century. Like other art forms, poetry reflects the changing concerns of society, and when Heart’s Needle appeared in 1959, critics praised W. D. Snodgrass for the honest and unsentimental sequence of poems about his difficulty as a newly divorced father. Without a doubt, the effect of divorce on parent/child relationships becomes an increasingly significant theme to growing numbers of people as divorce becomes increasingly accepted and widespread in our culture; however, the loss of a child through divorce is only one aspect of damaged family relationships that Snodgrass examines. A border view of Snodgrass’s poetry about intimacy, including selections from Hearts Needle, Remains, and After Experience, reveals his concern with the larger theme of self-perpetuating, cyclic nature of family dysfunction.
Hermanson, Eve R., "Your father's crimes: The family cycle of dysfunction in the works of WD Snodgrass" (1987). Student Work. 3273.
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