Study Guide

Dangerous Astronomy Love

By Sherman Alexie

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Wouldn't it be cool if our speaker was an 80s music fan, and instead of getting jealous, he slid down to his knees as his wife breastfed their son, and busted out Tina Turner's famous song, "What's looooove got to do? Got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be brooooken?" Okay, maybe not. But love is a central theme to "Dangerous Astronomy." It has a lot to do with it. The familial love of both parenting and marriage becomes the source for closeness and distance for the speaker. Although he deeply loves both his wife and son, he seems isolated and frustrated by the closeness his wife and son have. So finally, he has to turn to his understanding of God to relieve him of his jealousy and accept that love isn't always as easy as it seems it should be.

Questions About Love

  1. What is the speaker suggesting about his love for his wife and son? How is it different than what you might expect? 
  2. How would you react if one of your parents told you he/she was jealous of your relationship with the other parent? Awkward, right?
  3. In this poem, the speaker asks for forgiveness for feeling more important than his wife and son. Is the act of seeking forgiveness an act of love? Does it redeem or condemn the speaker? 
  4. How does the speaker express his love for his wife and son through the language of the poem? 

Chew on This

Through the dramatic unfolding of the speaker's frustration with his wife and son, this poem portrays love as a complex emotion that extends beyond the speaker's control.

In "Dangerous Astronomy", love is a source of isolation and jealousy, rather than comfort and fulfillment. It's bad news.

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