The Last Question Essay

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Potter, a writer of fiction and screenplays, teaches writing at the University of San Francisco. In this essay, Potter explains how Parker uses mock-serious language, poetic meter, and a series of questions and answers to beg the somber final response to her poem.

Upon a close reading of Dorothy Parker's "The Last Question," a few carefully crafted elements rise to the surface of what looks like a simple poem.

In the first stanza, the first two lines introduce the two speakers in the poem: the narrator and a lover in dialogue with each other. Asking a simple question, the narrator sounds like an innocent in the land of love: "New love, new love, where are you to lead me?

When the lover answers, however, archaic words like "marks" and "crooked" call attention to themselves, making the line an omen, for the road ahead of the two lovers will...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 1,173 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Last Question Study Guide
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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.