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The Passing of the Year

The Passing of the Year


by Robert Service

The Passing of the Year Theme of Art and Culture

So, about that theater metaphor. You know, the one where the speaker pretends that the passing of the year is like the end of a play? The one that basically takes over the entire poem? Well, seems like we have to mention it here. The idea of the theater, of acting and watching plays, pulls the whole poem together and provides its shape.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Did the theater comparison make sense to you right away? Do you think Service explains it clearly?
  2. Do you feel like you're there in the theater, looking up at the old man on the stage? In other words, does that epic metaphor seem alive to you?
  3. Is watching a play at all like reading a poem? Do they have the same kind of audience? The same sense of drama? How are they different?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Service uses the idea of a theater audience, not just to make things more dramatic, but also to make us think about how we read poems. The way we all "watch" the speaker as he delivers his monologue makes us a lot like a theater audience.

This poem achieves its effect by blending the very private world of the house with the totally public world of the theater. This allows a pretty short poem to say a lot about many kinds of human emotion.

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