For the Sake of Strangers Essay

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Pamela Hill is the author of a poetry collection, has published widely in literary journals, and is an editor for a university publications department. In this essay, she examines the hopefulness in Laux's poem, made all the stronger by its close association with despair, isolation, and grim determination.

The first four lines of Laux's “For the Sake of Strangers” suggest a generic “everyman” persona—a voice common to all humankind in describing the “weight, / we are obliged to carry.” The pronouns “we” and “us” imply the bond that runs throughout humanity. It is a bond that links the reader to the poet as well, as she relays her message about something “we” all share: grief, heaviness, and the “dull strength” that somehow gets us through.

These opening lines also appear to set the tone of the poem—somber, bleak, resigned. They depict a world in which people...

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This section contains 1,324 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the For the Sake of Strangers Study Guide
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