Study Guide

Some Trees Life, Consciousness, and Existence

By John Ashbery

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

Life. Consciousness. Existence. Those are some heavy words that make us tired as soon as we see them. But in "Some Trees," they're not so heavy. In fact, they can't be heavy because Ashbery isn't filling them with anything. Instead, he's giving us ideas to think about so we can fill them up however we choose. After all, life can be relatively simple if we just recognize that "being there means something." There's no need to call Nietzsche in on it.

Questions About Life, Consciousness, and Existence

  1. Why doesn't the speaker give us any specifics about what life's all about?
  2. Why are trees part of this metaphor about life and relationships? What's the connection?
  3. Why do people feel the need to create "comeliness" around them? Does it make life easier or more difficult to understand?

Chew on This

If life were only an accumulation of predictable equations, most of us would have trouble getting out of bed. What would be the point?

What we call "life" is really just a struggle to make sense of our surroundings and define our own reality. Sadly, though, it will never work (bummer).

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