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Lake Themes

Rosanna Warren
This Study Guide consists of approximately 21 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Lake.
This section contains 707 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Terminal Illness

Although a specific disease is never identified in the poem, a major theme of “Lake” is the grief and resignation that naturally accompany serious illness, especially when it is terminal. Words such as “heaviness,” “faithless,” and “withdrawn” all point to a somber mindset, and the phrase “those you cannot heal would remain / unhealed” clearly implies that there is no recovery expected. Warren uses a water motif—a thematic or metaphoric element that recurs throughout a work—to portray both faint hope and final abandonment in the process of dealing with incurable sickness. In the beginning, the subject walks deeper into the lake in a halfhearted effort to “rinse away” emotional pain. Toward the middle of the poem, the “you” is back on the shore, drying off, while a loved one simply stares “back out of the drift,” apparently lost in melancholy thoughts. In the end, mountains crumble...

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This section contains 707 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lake Study Guide
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