Free Essay: Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert

Published: 2023-09-18
Free Essay: Failing and Flying by Jack Gilbert
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Poem Analysis Writers
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1114 words
10 min read

This poem is mostly encouraging since it brings the phrase `anything worth doing is worth doing badly’ into perspective. Everyone remembers the narrative about Icarus as being one depicting failure, since he attempted to fly, and failed since the sun melted the wax holding his wings together. In life, people remember the terrible experiences that they go through and do not recognize the beauty that they enjoyed in the course of the journey.

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Through this mention, Gilbert reminds us that it is human nature for people to concentrate on the negativities than the positive parts, although they happened in little bits. The case of Icarus is a classic. It is said that he wanted to fly, and he undertook all the needed procedures that would help him to fly. For example, he collected the feathers he needed to make the wings he would use to fly.

He then took off and flew, although he got too carried away and flew too close to the sun that the wax fell off his wings, and he fell into the sea, which led to his death. While we mostly concentrate on the tragedy that befell Icarus, we neglect the fact that he achieved something that had not been done before.

He flew, using the materials that he had collected and put together by himself, and therefore this shows that his efforts paid off, albeit with a bad ending. He also enjoyed the experience while it lasted, since flying seemed to have been his lifetime goal, and although he ended up falling into the sea and dying, he died having achieved what he needed to achieve.

The speaker of the poem compares the failed attempt of a successful flight to the failed marriage that he had experienced. This poem might have been written as a consolation to himself, or a justification of himself to his friends, who may have been mocking for having failed in his marriage. The narrator compares his failed marriage to the failed experiment that Icarus had, since the people around him only saw the tragic end, forgetting that he had enjoyed his time with his wife when their marriage was happy.

Instead of focusing on the tragic end, the narrator chooses to concentrate and remember the beautiful moments that he and his wife had in their marriage and opts not to remember the end, but the beauty that he enjoyed with his wife. In his comparison of the marriage with the case of Icarus, the narrator may have been trying to emphasize that he had gained experience and had learned from the experiences of the failed marriage and that he would be less likely to commit the same mistakes in the future, should he get married again.

He is also emphasizing the need to stay positive even when one undergoes tragedies and uncomfortable situations that should, in typical situations, cause us to give up and fixate on the wrongs that happened to us. Also, through this piece, the narrator expresses the need to remain faithful in every situation that we go through since there are learning points throughout the situations that we experience, and that if we grasp the lessons that we needed to, the easier the journey towards healing emotionally will be to the people concerned.

Recognition and acceptance of the end of periods are vital in helping people to overcome and get over situations rather than remaining fixated on the issues that should and would have happened. At the end of the poem, the narrator mentions that while everyone viewed the fall of Icarus into the sea as a failed experience, he believed that the fall represented the end of a triumphant experience.

With this, the narrator recognizes that everything, even the good ones have an end to them and that despite our wish that they do not come to an end, we have no option but to accept that the times which we enjoyed have come to an end and that we need to move on from the situation. The narrator mentions his ex-wife with fondness, and from the memories he has of her, he would have wished to keep his marriage alive.

Still, since it seemed to have been impossible, he opted to remain with the beautiful memories he and his wife shared, instead of being bitter about the whole experience. He asks how it is his marriage could be considered to have failed, yet he had such fond memories of his ex-wife. This shows that the narrator had tried all he could, probably with the help of his ex-wife to save their marriage, and despite their efforts, the marriage failed to work.

Therefore, due to the failed attempts to revive the dying marriage being unsuccessful, it seems that the two decided to peacefully part ways, leaving each other free to find someone who would make them experience life and love in the same manner as they had felt about each other in the earlier stages of their relationship.

In conclusion, this poem applies to all aspects of our lives. In the societies that we live today, competition is the norm of the day, where people engage in comparison to each other, and when one seems to have failed, the most common reaction is to laugh at their failures. Nobody takes the time to understand the perspectives of the people who are termed as failures, and neither is someone there to catch them when they fall, hence making most of the falls and fails impossible to recover from.

It is the norm for people in society to be selfish with ideas when one needs them, and they only give their input when one has already failed, and therefore the advice is useless at the time. For example, the people mocking the narrator should have come to his aid when his marriage was not working. Still, they only came out to mock him, and probably point out the mistakes that were in his marriage after it had failed, leading to the narrator writing this particular poem.

This poem also emphasizes the need to have acceptance within ourselves that things will not always work in our favor and that it is a must that we accept them for what they are and that at the end of the day, life has to move on after the tragedies. According to the poem, we can see that it would be a great injustice to remain hung up on issues that are beyond us. Yet, we can view the situation from the point of thanksgiving, learning, and fond memories and experience that came from the incidents. Indeed, anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

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