Introduction to Poetry
by Billy Collins
Stanza 6 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
But all they want to do
- This line represents an important shift from what the speaker wants them to do, to what "they want to do."
- Collins uses a technique called enjambment to build a little suspense here. We don't find out what they want to do until the next line.
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
- Whoa! Things have taken an ugly turn. We've seen this movie, and it doesn't have a happy ending.
- It is important to note that the poem is being restrained, restricted. The poem is tied to a chair. Fun's over.
- Whoop, Whoop! (Okay, no more sound effects. That was the last time. Promise.) Collins gives us another metaphor here. The poem tied to the chair is a metaphor for all those things you think it would be a metaphor for: restriction, loss of freedom, lack of movement, and just about all things negative and ouchy.
- Bad things are coming in the poem and Billy wants to make sure that we get it. We do.
and torture a confession out of it.
- See? We knew things were heading in a nasty direction. Torture! Bad!
- They (the students) are trying to torture a confession out of the poem—trying to get the poem to give up the goods. They want the poem to confess and they are willing to use any means necessary.
- While those of you who have taken Mr./Ms. X's (insert name of toughest teacher at your school) class might argue this point, torture has no place in academic pursuits.
- Seeking truth is good. Blindly seeking answers is bad.