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Dream Song 14

Dream Song 14

by John Berryman

Dream Song 14 Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Take a good look at how "Dream Song 14" looks on the page. Do you notice any patterns? If so, how do you think they influence your reading of the poem? Or, how do you think they influence the mood of the poem? (Here's a hint: Look carefully at the structure of lines and stanzas. Ya can't say Shmoop never helped a brother out.)
  2. What is Berryman trying to tell us with this poem? Sure, the speaker is bored but does "the meaning" of the piece go beyond boredom? Why is the speaker so bored? 
  3. Can you make any connections between this speaker's feelings, why he feels this way, and your own life?
  4. Imagine your friend came to you with similar complaints of boredom (well, minus the part about the Houdini dog). What would you say? What do you do when getting out of bed in the morning seems like a chore? 
  5. Why do you think Berryman chose to use ampersands (&) instead of writing out the word, "and"? Does this choice have any effect on the way you read the poem or how you feel about the speaker? If so, why?
  6. Do you like the title of this poem? Why or why not? How does this title influence your reading of the poem? If you had to give this poem a new title, what would it be? Try to come up with something that isn't… boring.

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