Everything you need to understand or teach The Continuous Life by Mark Strand.
The first five and a half lines of "The Continuous Life" consist of a rhetorical question. Rhetorical questions do not require answers. Rather, writers use them for special effect, often when they want to convince someone of a truth without making an argument. In these lines, Strand describes a relationship between parents and children in which the children look for signs that their parents have grown tired of their child-rearing obligations. He asks the question only so that he may answer it. The images of "children hunched in bushes" and "neighborhood homes" are general enough to apply to a wide range of people, places, and times. Likewise, figuring parenting obligations as "the swell of duty" allows Strand to steer clear of depicting his characters in any realistic manner, which he might do if providing examples of these duties. They are types, which means that Strand uses them to represent all... View more of the The Continuous Life Summary