Study Guide

Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape Transformation

By John Ashbery

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So things all started to go wrong when Popeye's father, who looks exactly like him except more wrinkly, got jealous of his son's supply of spinach and his girlfriend and decided to force Popeye to leave the country. Now, in "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape," Popeye sits somewhere in the countryside and hurls green thunder that blocks the sun and creates perfect darkness. But, don't worry, it's not mad thunder; it's "loving thunder," and Popeye is very happy in the end. It's a transformation all right...we're just not sure how else in the world to describe it.

Questions About Transformation

  1. Does the poem describe one big transformation or several smaller transformations?
  2. How would you describe the major transformation in the poem in one sentence? Is it possible?
  3. Why isn't Popeye more upset about being forced to leave the country? Is the thunder an expression of anger or something else?
  4. Why does the thunder take over the apartment at the end of the poem?

Chew on This

Popeye's exile from the country is the cause of transformation in the poem.

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