Academic Master


Poem: West Hill

Paraphrase: My brother is happy in heavens. He is living a luxurious life, living in a big house, swimming in the swimming pool. The house is strong with pillars so that it does not crash. The purpose of building the house with that design is to ensure that the house does not decide on its own but has anchors to control the decisions. It will not decide when it is over. And my brother is lying on his back and he is high on cocaine and Heineken. He, the sun, the sky and the stars look similar and it is difficult to tell them apart. My brother has become part of nature. Whenever I come here and wonder what attracted him so much to kill take his life and travel to nature and become part of it. I wonder how the place looked like and what attracted him so much that he left the world without thinking twice. I wonder was it a woman, a lack of pain. A woman who pulled him towards her. The woman when he was bleeding and suffering due to the sufferings of the world and a woman when he was all chemicals. I wonder what it was that soothed his pain and suffering that he pleasantly took his life to be there.
Speaker: Mathew Dickman (A brother)
Audience: A friend or self
Tone: thoughtful; compassionate, apologetic
Visual: a big house built on the side of a hill on stilts, Evergreen trees, His back up at the sky, soft skin of his waist, She pulled him soaking, past the leather furniture, wet body
Organic: The sky, the sun, shining stars, West Hills
Kinesthetic: Jump, Knelt
Sound Qualities:
Onomatopoeia: Jump, Big, crashing,
Alliteration: boulevard below it. Build that way; The sun or the sky or the shining stars
Figurative Language:
Simile: Like Closet,
Archetypal: Razor,

  1. The aspect where the point refers to the stilted house, sky, and swimming drawing on the vastness of the world. The death and depression of his brother. I would like to read about the poet’s brother.
  2. The biographical, cultural and critical sources will help me understand the situation. As it is about the depression and suicide, it would be helpful to study culture and biography of the author but not forgetting the importance of the critical aspect of the sources. The sources must build on the knowledge on the ways that literature focuses on issues of depression and suicide to understand and respond to it.
  3. What aspect of depression is the author focuses on while writing the poem west hill

Analysis of West Hill by Mathew Dickman
West Hill by Mathew Dickman is a poem that describes his apologetic reaction to the death after the suicide of his brother. He starts the poem with announces his death “my older brother is in heaven” and he is happy there. He describes that his life is comfortable there so that “the house will not Jump and decide it is over.” As the poet’s brother has given up on life due to the darkness and depression, the life in the heavens does not allow such a depression. The depression and hopelessness cause a person an addict to the cocaine and alcohol and his brother was also using them but now his brother is part of the nature enjoying the swim in swimming pool. His death has helped him to become the part of nature. In the West Hill, the poet wonders, about what was it that help him decide at the end. He wonders was it the pain or the woman that convinced him to take his life and become part of nature. The poem discusses a sensitive and difficult subject of death in the poem. Although the meaning and language of the poem are clear, the compound sentences sometimes make it difficult to comprehend the meaning. Moreover, the lack of rhyme and proper structure presents his thoughts of the family members who are trying to comprehend the suicide of their loved ones and trying to find a reason for it. The strong imagery and nostalgic tone help the readers to see the lack of immortality and death.
The poet discusses depression and suicide in simple language painting the pictures of the afterlife without a proper structure. It is a free verse poem that refers to death and his grief. It discusses the family members who are left behind who are trying to find a reason for the death of their loved ones wondering about why and what. The poem shows his restlessness and continuous search for “the house” that became “the vacation” for him. It talks about the speakers or the mourner “I wonder”. The free verse and lack of traditional structure of poetry help the readers to connect with the thoughts of the mourner. It shows the flow of the thoughts that do not rhyme nor need proper structure to express the feelings. The technique of free verse assists him in presenting the theme, death, properly. The writing and the patterns of thought in the poem are crucial to find the form and structure of the poem. The lack of structure and proper poetic style provide right structure for the topic of death and grief manifest itself.
Moreover, the lack of excessive use of literary devices with visual words make helps the readers understand the suicide, death and the role of control in a person’s life. However, the person is not detached from the speaker or the reader as the poet through the nostalgic and grieving tone engross the reader. The poet does not use simile, allegory or any other device excessively to represent the thoughts of a family member after the death of beloved. But he shows the temporariness of the world. It shows that the life is not permanent and it will end soon using “crashing down,” “won’t decide it’s over,” and “nothing left.” Also, these phrases generate a sense of hopelessness and the sense of time constraint in the reader but contrasting the life on the planet to the eternity of the afterlife, it keeps a smooth balance. He generate the sense of sympathy towards the person who commits suicide showing his suffering “he is full of cocaine and Heineken.” Then changing the concept of the person from the pain to the eternity as he has become part of “the sun and the sky.”
The poem although nostalgic and mourning, it kind of celebrates the death and the eternal life or the part of the life being eternal. The visual imagery of him “swimming in the swimming pool, behind the big house” as if he is part of nature makes the death look less painful. It soothes the readers as it refers to eternity and peace in the afterlife in the “New Kingdom.” It changes the imagery of “cocaine,” “alcohol,” and “razors” to a more peaceful “New Kingdom.” He considers that whether it was a woman or the prospects of luxury and peace in the next life that helped him plan his death successfully. Towards the end, he also presents the lack of connection that the depressed people feel showing a need to be “listened.” He helps the reader visualize the concept of death as well as the peace in the afterlife. The visualization of the events, and lack of permanence although makes the reader uncomfortable, it presents realistic and positive prospects for the afterlife.
Lastly, the nostalgic and sometimes apologetic tone of the speakers assists the reader in feeling sympathy with the mourner and the dead. It makes the reader emphatic towards the speaker and apologetic towards the death as the speaker of the poem feels because the speaker was unable to assist and “listened” to the person who took his life due to constant sufferings. However, it does not put blames on anyone. The tone is nostalgic most of the time generating sympathy for the mourner as well as their relation without making death undesired.
To conclude, the freestyle of poem, with strong visual imagery and nostalgic tone engrossed the reader generating empathy in the readers but it does not make the death undesirable. By showing somewhat continuity of eternal and peaceful life, the poet has painted a beautiful picture of death and shows the worldly suffering. The poem starts and ends with a strong imagery that portrays a beautiful life that continues from the worldly life to the life in heaven. Thus, it achieves its purpose of presenting the thoughts of the mourner and the nostalgia with a positive perspective for the dead one.

Works Cited

Dickman, Matthew. Mayakovsky’s Revolver. , 2014. Print.



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