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Spring and All

Spring and All

by William Carlos Williams

The Hospital

Symbol Analysis

The man-made objects that open the poem have a big influence on the way we look at the nature scenes that follow. The hospital becomes a kind of lens that changes the way we see the world in the poem.

  • Line 1: The image of the contagious hospital puts us (just for a moment) in a completely human world. Everything that follows is natural, but here, for just a second, we’re stuck in a place of disease, with its white sheets and the smell of disinfectant. Williams is too sly to tell us exactly what the hospital means, but, sitting where it does, we can be sure that this isn’t just a random location.
  • Then again, if we’re going to make a deal out of the hospital, it wouldn’t be fair to leave out the road. It’s not as exciting as a "contagious hospital," but it’s a pretty important symbol, especially in America. In so many books and movies, it stands for freedom and possibility. On the other hand, roads can also make us think of danger, loneliness, and the violation of nature.

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