Study Guide

Birches Speaker

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We get the sense that the speaker is an older man who is experienced and wistful. He grew up before 1900, and the world at large is changing. However, he's managed to live in a pocket of the United States that isn't much different from the way it was a hundred years ago. For example, baseball became popular during the Civil War and the boy our speaker imagines doesn't know how to play the sport. The full-grown man is probably a farmer. We imagine that his nights are restless, because he's trying to figure out those "considerations." What can he put off a little longer? What has to get done tomorrow? These are the thoughts that fill his head, and he wishes for the days of carefree boyhood.

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