The Computation
The Computation
by John Donne

Speaker Point of View

Who is the speaker, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

The speaker is aging thousands of times faster than the rest of us. Well, no, it's not a Sci-Fi poem, the speaker is just a dramatic person and a massive exaggerator. He's the kind of person who waits in line for ten minutes and says, "Ugh. We've been here for, like, ten years." He's also someone who goes through very distinct stages of grief: disbelief, living in the past, sadness, depression, obsession, and finally, memory loss.

At the end of the poem, we get the surprise twist: the speaker is actually a ghost. It's like the Bruce Willis movie The Sixth Sense, 17th century-style. He's a troubled soul who wanders the world in a sort-of comatose state because he has been separated from his true love. He is immortal, but you get the impression that he doesn't want to be, and that his state is a burden. One way to paraphrase the poem's final question is, "Will this painful existence ever end?"

Next Page: Setting
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