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Introduction & Overview of Starlight by Philip Levine

This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Starlight.
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Starlight Summary & Study Guide Description

Starlight Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study on Starlight by Philip Levine.

"Starlight" first appeared in the journal Inquirey and was reprinted in Ashes: Poems New and Old in 1979, a collection that won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the American Book Award. This short 31-line poem, written in free verse, opens the second half of the book. Like the book's first and last poems, "Starlight" marks an attempt by the poet to come to terms with memories of his father. As the title of the collection itself implies, the primary subject of Ashes is loss. Like much of Levine's work, "Starlight" is a confessional poem, describing an experience from the poet's past. The narrator recounts a brief discussion from his childhood between himself and his father about happiness. Though the meaning of the experience was not clear to the narrator as a child, it is as an adult. The speaker obviously has grown emotionally and now has perspective on his past. He empathizes with his father, which makes sense when we understand that although Levine writes the poem from the viewpoint of an adult remembering himself as a child, the real change in the poem happens to the father. It is worth noting that Levine himself has three sons and may well be thinking of his own current relationship with them. Exploring ideas of innocence and experience, the poem suggests that regardless of how tired one may be, emotionally, psychologically, or physically, it is always possible to renew oneself through the experience of another, especially if that other person is a child. Levine presents his poem as a comment on the human condition, rather than merely an adult's memory of a childhood experience.

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This section contains 275 words
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Poetry for Students
Starlight from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.