Study Guide

Some Trees Language and Communication

By John Ashbery

Language and Communication

"Some Trees" opens with the idea of "speech" as a performance of sorts. So we immediately get to thinking about the way people communicate with one another. Maybe there's something inauthentic about it, maybe all of the performing also contributes to the speaker's sense of isolation—not to mention that language and communication are crucial components of any human relationship. (See how long your relationships last once you break out the silent treatment.)

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Why is "speech" a "still performance" and how does this line reflect concerns of how we communicate?
  2. Why does it seem as if the speaker and his partner aren't touching, loving, and explaining things in the right way?
  3. How do trees relate to this idea of language and communication? Can we make something out of that "joining a neighbor" line?

Chew on This

Words are great and useful, but that all depends on how and with whom we use them.

Reality is not separate from the words we use to describe it. Words are reality, people.

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