Self-Portrait Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 20 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Self-Portrait.
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Mysticism for Beginners

Mysticism for Beginners, the title of the collection that contains “Self-Portrait,” denotes one of the main themes of the poem. As he strives to characterize his relationship with his world, the speaker admits that his immigrant status results in a sense of disconnection and alienation from his adopted, “strange” city. This sense, however, is occasionally alleviated during moments when he is able to connect with the world through art. Music and literature offer him the promise of sublime moments of clarity, during which he can understand the power of pain and faith. His artistic sensibility also enables the speaker to see the “green . . . perfection” of trees, but he has difficulty expressing the true nature of these mystical moments.

The speaker in “Self-Portrait” is able to express articulately a yearning for and lack of mystical connection, as when he notes that there is a fourth element in...

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This section contains 442 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Self-Portrait Study Guide
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