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Human Existence and Life

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Human Existence and Life

An Abandoned Factory, Detroit, a poem by Philip Levine, attempt to convey a message in his poem about human existence and life and he is successful in conveying that message. There are lines in the poem that very strongly express how he views human existence and life. Levine conveys a negative view towards human existence and life by talking about loss, getting older, and by portraying a depressing setting.

In An Abandoned Factory, Detroit, Levine talks quite frequently about loss. In the last stanza, Levine says, “And estimates the loss of human power.” By saying this, he is saying that humans are losing power in the world. Another time Levine mentions loss is when he says, “Experienced and slow, the loss of years, the gradual decay of dignity.” This means that humans are gradually losing their dignity and losing self respect for themselves as days go by. For these reasons, Levine portrays a negative view towards human existence and life by discussing human loss in the poem.

Levine talks about how things in life are becoming older until they eventually die. One example of this was when he said, “Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour, nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears which might have served to grind their eulogy.” When Levine mentioned the men not outliving the gears, he meant that the men are wearing away their life each day they are working there and they are not getting any younger. Also, him mentioning the men grinding their eulogy at the end of the poem made the readers think about death to end off the poem.

In the poem, Levine uses imagery to put a dark and depressing picture of the poem in my head. When he said, “The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fences stands, and an iron authority in the snow,” I was picturing an old factory in the snow with barbed-wire fences surrounding the factory. This image is a very grim and dark one, thus supporting the theory that Levine had a negative view on human existence and life because if he was happy, he would not have put such a dark image in the readers head.

In conclusion, Levine has a negative view on human existence and life through talking about loss, getting older, and by portraying a depressing setting.

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