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Theme in Yellow

Theme in Yellow


by Carl Sandburg

Theme in Yellow Theme of Youth

Halloween is all about the kids and the fun they have. "Theme in Yellow" is likewise for the kids and celebrates that time of year when they get to be as silly as they want to be. Even the jack-o-lanterns are only "fooling," so there's no need to get super-serious and meaningful in this poem. The pumpkin-speaker just wants us to have our fun and enjoy the scenery—like a kid would.

Questions About Youth

  1. How does Sandburg tailor his language for a more youthful audience? And even if we're not children, how does "Theme in Yellow" encourage us to at least think like them for a moment?
  2. Why are the children singing "love to the harvest moon"? What's so special about that moon in the eyes of kids?
  3. How do the kids know the jack-o-lantern is "only fooling"? What sort of understanding do the kids have with the pumpkins? 
  4. How does the speaker also reflect the spirit of youth? What sort of similarities do they share?

Chew on This

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

Kids just want to have fun with some pumpkins in Sandburg's poem and aren't interested in taking things too seriously. We know—shocking, right?

Nice try, junior. Kids may want to have fun, but it's the adults who can truly appreciate the beauty of those "orange and gold clusters."

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