Edgar Lee Masters Writing Styles in Spoon River Anthology

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Point of View

The Spoon River Anthology is written almost exclusively in first person singular. The conceit of the book is that the reader has entered the Spoon River cemetery and is meeting the dead townsfolk, who then speak about their lives in retrospect. Thus it is quite natural that the spirits would use "I," "me," and "mine," to convey their stories. There are a few notable exceptions. The first occurs in the opening poem, "The Hill," (p.223) which occurs in second person, as the dead of Spoon River (presumably) ask one another where various members of the town may be found. The answer? All of them are sleeping on the hill. The second example occurs in "Father Malloy," (p. 212) which is also in second person. Father Malloy is buried elsewhere in Spoon River and a group of the dead speak together about him and his life using "you...

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This section contains 1,000 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Spoon River Anthology Study Guide
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