The Last Question Essay

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Pool is a published poet and teacher of advanced placement and international baccalaureate senior English. In this essay, Pool relates Dorothy Parker's short poem to poetic traditions and to the social and sexual standards of the 1920s.

Dorothy Parker's poem "The Last Question" is exceedingly short, consisting of only eight lines. Such brevity, while characteristic of the poet, is nevertheless daunting to the reader who encounters the poem in isolation. It is quite clearly a love poem with an edge of worldly experience tempering the joys of a new love affair. Parker's poem, brief as it is, touches on the sense of wariness toward a new lover that reflects a kind of sophisticated and hardwon knowledge; it also may be understood through its connections to poetic tradition, the biography of the poet, and the relationship to the evolving social and sexual standards of the 1920s.

The poem is...

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This section contains 1,478 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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Poetry for Students
The Last Question from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.