Study Guide

The Layers Tough-o-Meter

By Stanley Kunitz

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(5) Tree Line

On first glance, "The Layers" seems like an easy climb. It's not full of huge, obscure words and we can get the gist of it. With further review, however, we find that the content is dense and weighty. There's a subtext smorgasbord to be had, we're talking consciousness, mortality, and the human condition, to name a few. This is a thinking-caps poem and it might help to light an incense stick.

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