Study Guide

Famous Setting

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We like to imagine a film version of "Famous" in which every line corresponds to a scene in a slow-moving montage set to some Zen music for meditation. We open into the murky waters of a fast-rushing river overflowing with fish. Next is the lone voice shouting in the wilderness or something like that. We see the yellow cat carefully curled up at a corner of the fence, just a few yards from the little wooden bird house in flaking red paint…you get the idea.

With every line we leap to a new place, but the ending of the poem makes us think that we've been standing in a grocery line all this time and all those images in lines 1-14 are the fast-moving thoughts of a very perceptive grocery buyer. And of course that's precisely the point. With a little imagination, and a little kindness, we can find fame just about everywhere we look.

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