The Lifeguard James Dickey Analysis

James Dickey (1923-1997) was an American poet, literary critic, novelist, and screenwriter. James Dickey received the National Medal for Literature Award in 1996. James Dickey is most known for his poem “Falling”. James Dickey is also known for his novel Deliverance which was adapted into a film of the same name in 1972. James Dickey is considered one of the most important literary figures of his time. James Dickey, born James Rigney Jr. , was named after Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart while his father James “Big Jim” Rigney was named after General James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart, who fought in the American Civil War.

James Dickey’s father died in 1922 when James Dickey was only nine years old. James Dickey attended Baylor University and later transferred to then-Bard College, but James did not graduate from either of these schools and instead joined the U. S. Air Force during World War II, serving as a gunner in a B-29 crew in the Pacific. James Dickey is often compared to Robert Frost due to James Dickey’s “powerful but traditional style” of writing. James Dickey wrote poetry, novels, short stories, essays and screenplays.

James Dickey is most famous for his poem “Falling”. James Dickey’s most famous novel was called Deliverance which later became a major motion picture released in 1972 James Dickey’s poems are known for their deep symbolism and imagery. James’ poems are typically about war or love between two people. For example James’ poem “Falling” states: “As I went out one morning / To breathe the air around Tom’s house I saw him walking up / Alone in / The new fallen snow” James Dickey’s poem is about a man named Tom who James is very good friends with.

James uses imagery to describe his feelings towards Tom; James describes how he admires Tom and wishes that they were closer. James Dickey’s poems usually follow the romantic tradition of using symbolism and imagery to express emotions. James’ most famous poem “Falling” was published in 1965 and is James’ best-known work. James begins his poem by describing how he is walking outside on a cold morning and notices something unusual: “As I went out one morning / To breathe the air around Tom’s house I saw him walking up / Alone in / The new fallen snow.

James then tells the reader how he has admired Tom for a while and James believes that they could be very close if James did something to get Tom’s attention. James then describes the thoughts running through his head as he sees Tom: James’ thoughts “… were of a queerish sort / They were not altogether desire… ” James does not know what he wants from Tom but James knows that there is some type of strong, powerful emotion building inside him just from seeing him.

James states that “It seemed to me / That I must tell him where I was bound” James knew that whatever this feeling or emotion was it had taken complete control by telling James that he had to explain himself to Tom. The protagonist in James Dickey’s poem goes on describing the way the wind blows and James describes the thoughts racing through his head. James’ thoughts are of Tom which James describes as “Wishing that all of him / Would come my way. ” James then goes on to say that he “… felt a fool, / A tremulous thing… James knows what James wants but James is not sure how to get it.

James’ protagonist then realizes that “… a single gust had blown away / All of my being… ” all James wants is for Tom’s full self to be with him. James says this feeling was so strong because it “left me nothing” or so James believes. The protagonist in James Dickey’s poem believes that they have nothing left after falling for someone since life isn’t about falling in love with another person but James Dickey’s protagonist doesn’t believe this and James Dickey’s protagonist believes that falling is the “only way.

James Dickey’s protagonist tells us that they “Knew not what else to say / Of this thing I had made” James’ protagonist knows what James wants but James’ protagonist does not know how to express it. James Dickey’s poem ends with the protagonist saying: “I was far from there / And all at once / The air grew strong and hard” James then goes on to state that he wants Tom and nothing can stop him from getting Tom: “I prayed God to bring him safely home… ” James Dickey’s poem shows how someone falls in love by explaining the protagonists thoughts as the words fly from James’ protagonist’s mouth.

James Dickey’s The Lifeguard is a unique, powerful work that interprets the human desire to seek out new challenges and experiences. In a motif that threads throughout the story, young David rescues Trudy from drowning when they are children. Years later, when he returns home for his sister Sue Ann’s wedding, she laments to him “I feel so bad about what happened in summer,” (Dickey ix).

David does not remember her saying this before and they proceed to talk “as they used to when we were kids,” (Dickey xi). They dance together at Sue Ann’s wedding and later they meet in the hotel where he has been staying. He decides to go swimming with her in the hotel’s abandoned pool, which had been boarded up for some time. They engage in a passionate sexual encounter and she falls asleep afterwards while he looks out at the sea.

Later that night, still unwinding from the day, David climbs over the fence of a nearby construction site. He begins to dig, unearthing stones and dirt with an abandon he had not felt since childhood days playing in his mom’s garden. Trudy calls his name and when he looks back she has transformed into a thin figure wearing black. She leads him to what Dickey describes as “a point inside you where you can’t ever go back,” (Dickey 94) or “the place your heart dies,” (Dickey xiii).

He follows her through a dense forest and what he later describes as a “zone of naked sun,” (Dickey 95) and when they finally emerge she is gone and all that remains are her clothes. As he picks up the locket she leaves behind, David sees himself for the first time since childhood, reflected in its golden surface. James Dickey’s The Lifeguard portrays the human desire to seek out new challenges and experiences, whether it be rescuing someone once or taking risks like swimming in an abandoned pool after dark.

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