The color yellow is a very significant part of Rata Dove’s “Thomas and Bellay. ” Just simply the sights of the various ways the color yellow is used throughout poems like “Courtship” and “Taking in Wash” and also with the second section title “Canary in Bloom” can completely change the tone and setting of the poem being read. Yellow is frequently portrayed as a soft, warm, and happy color. In pictures, paintings, movies, and writings it’s often associated with Joy and cheerfulness, and sometimes even love.
As children, we would draw portraits of our family that included a big multi-color house, luscious green grass, and giant bright shining yellow sun with a happy face. Advertisers use yellow to sale the idea of a happy, relaxing vacation by simply including a beach with a bright yellow sun and clear blue sky in the background. The brightness of the color yellow almost puts a smile on your face. Rarely is the color yellow seen in a depressing painting, a bad massacre scene in a play, or described in a gloomy rainy setting of a book.
Color can strongly impact or alter a person’s mood, feelings, or perception of a situation. The happiness and Joy carry over to one of the early poems “Courtship. ” The poem describes how Thomas attempts to woo and seduce Bellay with his gift, his mandolin clinging to his chest, and his money. In the poem he presents Bellay with a yellow scarf. He knows that he can replace it if he wants and believes she will like it. His perception of yellow could mean that he views her as a warm person and the yellow scarf compliments her warmth. The scarf could also represent security and he wraps it around her as her protector.
I believe that Thomas feels that he can give her a good life and that his scarf symbolizes the security, warm and love that he wants to give her. In the second half of “Courtship, Diligence” titled “Thomas and Bellay”, Thomas’ perception of Bellay is wrong. She is not impressed with the scarf or the mandolin. She said, “She’d prefer a piano and sky colored flask. Not the scarf, bright as butter. Not his hands cool as dimes. ” The color yellow and the significance of the scarf did not have the same meaning for Bellay as it did Thomas. The association of the color yellow with butter almost implies it has no meaning to her.
It’s worthless and insignificant. Her perception of his gift contradicts his intent. The title of the second portion of “Thomas and Bellay” is called “Canary in Bloom. ” When I first began my research of the color yellow, the title instantly Jumped out at me. A canary is a bright yellow bird that is almost impossible to miss. It stands out significantly and almost instantly makes you stop and take notice. Few parts of the bird aren’t engulfed in the sunny yellow. The tannins claws, orange sharp beak, and beady black eyes are almost unnoticeable in comparison to the bird’s extremely fluorescent physique.
The bird itself has different symbolisms to it. The color is immediately associated with cheerfulness and warmth. When I think of the title “Canary in Bloom”, I think of a Dragnet yellow Dollar, Tallying Tree, Walt a world AT opportunity open Ana available to explore. No limitations. For me, it represents a bright future waiting to be explored. The title takes on a bigger meaning throughout the first poem that immediately follows the section title. The first poem of the second half of Dove’s book is called “Taking in Wash. ” The background of this poem, in my opinion, is about a father that turns into a monster when he gets drunk.
He aimlessly walks around the house calling his daughter Pearl. In the poem, he yells constantly and his intoxicated behavior wakes and frightens everyone in the home. Even their dog hides under the stove and barks. Near the end of the poem, the father sees the daughter and puts a sort of grimacing smile across his face. The mother finally shows courage and tells her husband, “If you touch that child, I’ll cut you down Just like the cedar of Lebanon. ” The word yellow in “Taking the Wash” takes on a different meaning in this poem. Earlier, the color was often associated with happiness, but not in this poem.
It actually says, “Towards winter his skin paled, buckeye to ginger root, cold drawing the yellow out. ” Yellow takes on an entirely different meaning in this poem. The yellow seems to represent life. It’s as if the life was being drawn out of the father. The alcoholism was slowly killing him and his family. Yellow didn’t have the meaning of happiness in this poem; it represented life being taken. Without reading the rest of the poem, you could immediately recognize that all that was good and Joyful for this family was being withdrawn when you read “cold drawing the yellow out. Before eating the book and researching the color of yellow, I never realized the impact color could have on the meaning or interpretation off poem. There were many different colors illustrated in the poems that could have been used also to enhance the meaning of each poem. I read some of the poems over and over to attempt to expand my knowledge of the subject. When I first read the poems at the beginning of the semester, I never paid attention to the colors. I would have never guessed they were almost strategically placed throughout the book. Vie realized now that colors do have meaning and extreme importance throughout any reading.