Study Guide

The Tuft of Flowers Friendship

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"Why can't we be friends?" the speaker seems to wonder in "The Tuft of Flowers." He's not envisioning a drinking buddy or someone to go the ballgame with. He's after a simpler, but deeper, connection to his fellow human beings. Making a friend isn't about being popular in this case. It's about overcoming the feelings of isolation and separateness, which our speaker ultimately does. The flowers he discovers remind him that, through the work of others, he's in touch with lots of people. In particular, though, the speaker chooses to spend his lunch break with an imaginary mower.

Questions About Friendship

  1. How convincing is the speaker's sense of being connected to others? Do you think that he is, or does he still seem isolated to you? What parts of the poem give you your ideas?
  2. What's the nature of the speaker's connection to the mower? Does it matter that the mower isn't physically around? Why or why not?
  3. In what ways do the heroic couplets add to the sense of companionship in this poem?

Chew on This

The poem's case for our being connected in the world is totally more convincing than its case for our being on our own.

The connection that the speaker feels for the mower is totally imaginary—and that's perfectly okay. Our relationships with others is all about our mental state.

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