Study Guide

Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape Dissatisfaction

By John Ashbery

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A thin layer of dissatisfaction hangs over "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape," but it's so thin you might not even notice it. The complaints expressed by characters are either minor and nitpicky (things being cheaper in the country) or absurdly idealistic (wanting to be plunged to the stars with inspiration). If we had to play psychologist on these characters, we'd diagnose them with a serious case of boredom. The only character with a real reason to be upset – the exiled Popeye – is perfectly content.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Are any of the characters more dissatisfied than the others?
  2. Are dissatisfaction and social class related in this poem? To what class do these characters belong?
  3. Why do none of the characters seem especially disturbed by the thunder outside?
  4. What's Popeye laughing about at the end of the poem?

Chew on This

The characters should be dissatisfied based on the objective facts of their situation, but they are incapable of being truly disturbed by anything.

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