Literary Analysis

The two poems are written by the same person who describes the same setting but in different perceptions. The personas in both poems walk through the streets of New York at the same time but to a different view and environment. The times are different as are the moods. The persona brings out several differences that seem to restrain this society and on other parts similarities that make the reader see the same life at different times. The comparison of the poems brings out the difference in times of civility, celebration and times of work and conflict. The conflicts depicted are those arising from racism, social status and human relationship.

The two poems are set in the streets of New York at different times. The similarity here is the place, and the persona putting into consideration that it is the same author and thus probably the same persona. In the poem, “The Day Lady Died”, the persona is walking in the streets of New York at around midday, just three days after Bastille Day. This is in 1959. The persona seems to be in a celebrating mood and seems to be preparing for an evening dinner which to the reader seems to be one filled with fun and enthusiasm of a relaxed man whose economic position is promising and free of any distress. The persona describes how he goes for a shoe shine to ensure that he looks elegant at the dinner (O”Hara 1995). The dinner further seems timed, and the persona is in questions and imaginations of what will happen here and who will be present. The persona in the third and fourth stanzas describes his movement and time at the dinner. He describes how he takes expensive liquor until he is drunk and can not just walk. He further explains how he feeds on well served snacks along the streets and how the other people who are in the same mood are humming the piano to sweet and pleasant music. The people are celebrating in different styles. The second poem however, the mood is different, and the financial position is also different. The persona in the poem, “A Step Away From them is walking in the same New York streets as it is in the first poem. It is the same time, around midday. In this poem, there is no festive mood and all people are busy in their place of work. The persona himself seems to be out for lunch break as he describes it as his lunch hour. He is seen walking down a filthy street of New York which he describes as dusty and dirty. He shows that he is familiar with the happenings around here as it is the mode of operation. He describes the laborers dressed in their usual work gear which he describes as protective from the harmful environmental factors like dust and dirt. He further shows that the meals taken here are different from the ones in the first poem. They are cheap, filthy and dirty. The individuals taking them are desperate and tired. The similarities in these parts of the poems are the environment or rather the setting. However, the times and moods are different. The author of the poems has brought out a clear picture of what actually happens at different times of the year. The author has enabled the reader be able to bring out the difference in times at New York. The reader is able to understand New York City, not as a place of all time fun and neither a place of all time work. It brings out the picture of a socially balanced place where people work and celebrate at different times.

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The comparison of the poems further brings out differences and similarities in the human relations in this city. The two poems bring out a similarity depicting New York as metro Politian city comprising of both whites and blacks. The poem, “A step Away From them, he describes the posture of a negro and how he tries to woo a lady within the vicinity. In the second poem, “The Day Lady Died”, the persona describes the presence of a Ghana paper, an African interest. The poems further show that the relationship between the races is bitter. Animosity prevails between races in this part of the world. The persona says he got a copy of the ugly” New World Writing to see how Ghana poets are doing these days. In the second poem, he shows how the choir lady is agitated by the Negros advances. The two instances show a dislike of the blacks. The author through the two poems brings out the truth about human relations in different parts of America. He intends to show the author that racism is real in America. This brings out one of the similarities of the two poems. The relationship between whites and blacks in New York remains the same despite and irrespective of the sea. The two poems show significant differences in the take of life, death, morals and relation between individuals. The differences here are enormous as are the similarities.

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The poem,” A step away from them, the persona is seen imagining a lot about death of several individuals in a given order. He states that the first to die was Bunny followed by others and finally Jackson Pollack. He wonders whether there is any life remaining after they left. However, he shows that nothing much changed as people continue to eat, walk work and even enjoy their lives by viewing nudes and bullfights. In the second poem, all people are okay and what is prevailing is just fun and merry making. The two poems depict a society that continues despite the challenges. The poem, “The Day Lady Died”, the people enjoy themselves as well. They stroll into parks, take expensive liquor and well organized meals and snacks. Indeed, they enjoy themselves (O”Hara 1956). The poems in this category depict financial settings in the same city but different platforms that poor and that of the rich. The two societies appear different in their way of doing things. However, at the end of the day, the two societies have a way of celebrating. The poems set it clear that irrespective of the financial constrain or strength, the human needs remain to be the same and through different means they will find a way of settling them. The poor will enjoy bull fighting while the rich will take expensive liquor. At the end of the day, both societies will experience moral decay.


In conclusion, it will be right to say that the two poems have brought in many similarities and differences ranging from the setting, human relations, environment and even socio-economic setting of the people. The two poems through their differences and similarities bring out the true setting of this populous city. It also gives the reader a clear picture of the city at different times. The poems show that not all things are positive and neither are all negative. The poems further show the internal feeling of the residents of this city and what their wills are. The poems in their comparison have helped bring out the real happenings that would not be possible to get through other art but through poetry as an art.

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