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Word Count: 580
Robert Lowell presents his depiction of the future of America in his poem For the Union Dead In this poem Lowell uses imagery as his basis for description and foretells of the oncoming decay of our American ideals The imagery Lowell uses makes this poem more vivid and tangible illuminating the present state of the nation Lowells own past American history and the corruption of the future Lowell creates the picture of a path that American is on this path leads to the eventual destruction of the beliefs that founded this nation The poem opens with a description of the forlorn aquarium standing in a Sahara of snowline 2 The desolate and abandoned aquarium represents Lowells belief in the loss of American ideals Once his nose crawled like a snail on the glassline 5 of a fish tank This image causes childhood memories to surface that evoke joy and happiness In contrast to this calming childhood memory of pressing up against the glass and viewing the compliant fish Lowell then presents the image of being pressed against the new barbed and galvanized fenceline 12 and viewing yellow dinosaur steamshovelsline 14 as they gouge their underworld garageline 16 This is the disintegration of what Lowell holds sacred Shaws monument embodies the essence of American ideals the very ones that are now in decay Shaw led his Negro infantry into battle during a time when there was little respect and even less equality for Negro people Lowells image of Colonel Shaw as lean as a compass-needleline 32 indicates that Shaw pointed his infantry in the right direction and his bold actions continue to be an example to the nation of what is admirable Lowell gives the reader a glimpse of the corrupt future that was spawned out of World War Two and its post war commercialism The image of the Mosler safe amazingly enduring an atomic blast The Rock of Agesline 57 imparts Lowells message of
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