Delights and Shadows Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Delights and Shadows.
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The Human Condition

Many of the poems in Delights & Shadows explore various aspects of the human condition—what it means to be human in terms of common experiences and reactions to these experiences. In "Walking on Tiptoe," Kooser describes how the psychic weight of being human physically affects us: "There is little spring to our walk, / we are so burdened with responsibility." This poem differentiates humans from animals, a point also touched on in "In the Hall of Bones." Here, the poet emphasizes how people are conscious of their humanity and suffer as a result. Kooser writes of humans, "Of all the skeletons / assembled here, this is the only one / in which once throbbed a heart / made sad by brooding on its shadow."

Not all of Kooser's poems are as solemn. While the title of "At the Cancer Clinic" suggests illness, the poem itself is focused on the kindness...

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This section contains 973 words
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