When one only begins to read Billy Collins’ poem Schoolville, he/she may think that its main character, the teacher, is losing his mind and getting weaker and older every day. However, when one has read a few verses, he/she can understand that he is only recalling his past. And when the reader has finished reading the entire poem, his/her understanding of the teacher’s life becomes absolutely clear. The last verses show how the outside world sees the teacher and allow the reader to gain his/her own opinion about him.
The main character of Schoolville has created his own world in his head and filled it with different events. The teacher feels old, lonely and sad and is waiting for someone to come to him every day. Out of his feelings, he is getting somewhat crazy.
Collins describes the teacher as a person who does not have a real job. He continues reading his lectures to the air and telling his stories to himself, still thinking that he is talking to the students. Not remembering the names of his students, he has only some pictures from the past coming in front of his eyes. These pictures and situations are absurdly full of different stereotypes concerning high school, such as a boy who always wants to answer the teacher’s question or a girl who uses her lipstick to sign her works. It does not mean that this girl actually does this, but it shows the way she is concerned with her appearance. These hyperboles are used to show the teacher’s inner world to the reader.
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The poem Schoolville is written in a satirical and quizzical way. The author uses a humorous style to send the reader back to the times when the main character was a teacher. He also shows the way his past captured him.
It is interesting how many poetic styles manage to coexist today. One of these styles is typical to the regions in general, while others name only popular poets or poetic schools. The Best American Poetry says that the contemporary American poetry has such characteristic traits as rich variety, decentralization, and a number of comprehensive formulas. Thus, to make a description more convenient, one can present American poetry is the form of a range and define three directions that cross partially. One pole of these directions is traditionalists, the other is experimenters, while in the center, there are loner individualist poets. All of them have their characteristics: traditionalists stick to the poetic tradition, experimenters create new styles, and loners take both traditional and new techniques to attain an individual voice.