?Stephen Dobyns’ poem “The Street” on Balthus’ painting The Street affirms his belief “that no one can see his neighbor” due to people’s concerns with their personal duties in their ordinary paths of life (1). Balthus illustrates people’s compulsion with menial tasks as blinders obstructing vision to the outside world. He positions each subject of the painting to symbolize his or her inherent dexterity and purpose within the society. However, we pick up on his theory that individuals become consumed with their selfish pursuits forming weak and divided communities. Dobyns elaborates on Balthus’ painting to transparently elucidate the deliberation behind the work of art. The structure of Dobyns’ poem reflects the systematic steps of people within the painting as he plainly interprets their motives. In separate stanzas, he relates the story of each person in the painting to reveal their deliberate duties. This emphasizes the artist’s vision of the world. Through poetry, Dobyns brings life to the differing individuals, allowing the reader to enter more fully into the vision of the painting.
Balthus’ simplistic painting spotlights the people’s daily tasks, allowing Dobyns’ to observe the importance and value in the many components of a society. Balthus’ painting
The Street exemplifies an unyielding, and captivating society jumbled with multiple roles that distract the reader from honing in on one person. Hughes regards the majority of Balthus’s themes to be defined within a meticulous and peculiar setting (Marks 49). In accordance to the order of the stanzas, the reader is introduced to the central figure within Balthus’ painting. The carpenter’s stark white clothing, ironically contradicts the story Dobyns infers. The blue collared wo…
…ves. Dobyns uses imagery and expressive words to reiterated the emphasized features within the painting. We can conclude from the straightforward words of Dobyns that individuals within a society must connect and communicate in order to successfully build relationships and community.
Dictionary of the Arts. Ed. Chris Murray. New York: Facts on File, 1994. 42. Print.
“Dobyns, The Street.” Dobyns, The Street. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2014.
King, Janna. “Dobyns, Stephen 1941–.” American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement 13. Ed. Jay Parini. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 73-92. Scribner Writers on GVRL. Web. 16 May 2014.
Marks, Claude. World Artists, 1950-1980: An H. W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1984. 48-49. Print.
“Stephen Dobyns.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 May 2014.