Astonishment Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Astonishment.
This section contains 1,592 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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Title

"Astonishment" was written in 1972, but the main ideas of the poem are echoed in much of Szymborska's earlier and later work as well. The notion of "astonishment" or wonderment at the complexity of the universe is seen in much of her poetry as the poet looks with curiosity, awe, sadness, and even joy at the contingency of human existence and the place humans occupy in the universe. In her 1996 Nobel lecture, Szymborska talks about inspiration, which she says is "born from a continuous 'I don't know.'" Poets are not the only ones whom inspiration visits, she says—inspiration comes to doctors, teachers, and gardeners as well—but genuine poets must keep repeating the phrase "I don't know," and each poem marks an effort to try to know, which the poet inevitably finds cannot be satisfactorily done. The poet looks around at the world, she says, and...

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This section contains 1,592 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Astonishment Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Astonishment from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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