by Anne Sexton
Stanza 3 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.
- And here we get yet another example of a Cinderella story. (Mid-summary question: what do you think is the poetic purpose of piling up all these examples here? Wouldn't one or two suffice?)
- This one is different from both the plumber and the nursemaid story. Here, "a milkman who serves the wealthy" (notice again the connection to wealth—as with the nursemaid) decides to go into the real estate business and makes a ton of money. He goes from "homogenized" (referring to homogenized milk—the kind you get in the grocery store for a few bucks) to "martinis at lunch" (martinis are expensive alcoholic drinks—James Bond preferred them "shaken, not stirred").
- This success story doesn't sound like it involves much luck, does it? Just hard work and business sense. The milkman relies less on luck than either the plumber or the nursemaid.
- Other things to notice about this stanza: the "white truck like an ambulance." What an odd comparison to make! Usually you wouldn't put together "dairy products" and "hospitalization" (unless you are seriously lactose intolerant), but there it is. This comparison is a simile (since it uses "like" or "as"), and it brings a dark note into all of this good luck/good fortune/good business sense. Suddenly we have associations with death, injury, emergency—all bad things.
- Complicated grammar alert! The way this sentence is structured: "the white truck like an ambulance who goes into real estate" makes it seem almost like the ambulance is going into real estate, but it's actually the milkman.
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