by Rita Dove
Persephone, Falling Theme of Isolation
We know from the title of "Persephone, Falling" that Persephone falls (wow, what a shocker), but what leads to her fall is the fact that she has become isolated from her community. She wanted to be different from everyone else, have the prettiest, most unique flower all to herself, and as a result, she was too far away to be saved (or even heard) by anyone.
Questions About Isolation
- Do people isolate themselves or are they isolated by outside forces (nature, others)? How responsible is Persephone for her isolation?
- What drives us to want to be distinct and isolated? What do you think leads Persephone to isolate herself?
- Do you think Persephone's desire to be isolated from others has anything to do with her age? Are there any clues that she is being naïve?
- How much of the mother's advice do you agree with? Is it worth it to conform and go with the crowd if it means staying safe?
Chew on This
Persephone deliberately isolates herself from her community because she watched too much Barney and has a childish desire to be special.
The speaker of the poem is right: Persephone should have been willing to give up her desire to be different for the sake of playing it safe.