Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes

Analysis of Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Feelings

Binmen: Hope & Jealousy - Line 26 "Gazing down"

Shame/Inferiority - Line 17 "Grungy from their route" Line 29/30 "As if they were some odorless TV ad/in which everything is always possible"

Mercedes Couple: Superiority - Line 6 "Looking down"

Secure in themselves - Line 28 "The cool couple"

Poet/Reader: Anger at the failure of democracy - Line 36/7 "In the high seas/of this democracy"

Sadness at the gap existing between the rich and poor - Line 35 "Across that small gulf"

Pity for the binmen - Line 16 "The two scavengers up since four a.m."

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Attitudes

Poet/Reader: Democracy is not as it should be - Lines 36/37 "In the high seas/of this democracy"

There is a distinct gap between the rich and poor - Line 34/35 "Between them/across that small gulf"

Mercedes couple: They are "better" than the binmen - Line 9 "An elegant couple" Line 6 "Looking down" Line 15 "His architect's office"

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Ideas

Being sympathetic towards the working classes/poor

Clear division between the rich and poor - Poor described as ugly (Line 22 "Gargoyle Quasimodo") and rich are "Beautiful" - Title.

Rich people fit and perhaps determine our idealistic view of "beauty"

The supposedly "equal" (Line 37 "This democracy") society is clearly not working as the classes are still in place

Connotations we place on the rich and the poor, and what goes with that

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Language

Uses language to create contrast (Eg the title) between the rich and the poor.

Uses irony - Line 6 "Looking down" - Literally the binmen are higher up, so they are looking down, but the mercedes couple are "looking down" on the binmen as they are higher up in society.

Describes the poor as very ugly - "Grungy" "Grey iron hair" "hunched back" "gargoyle Quasimodo"

Describes the rich as "beautiful" "the cool couple" "the elegant couple"

Plays on connotations we have for certain words - "Red plastic blazers" "Odorless TV ad"

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Style & Structure

Free verse

No fixed rhyme scheme

No punctuation; instead, he starts a new line when he wants a pause to force a larger pause than punctuation may hav achieved - creates a fragmented effect (broken nature of society?)

Similie - Line 21/22 "Like some gargoyle Quasimodo"

Alliteration - Line 14 "Casually coifed"

Sybyllance - Line 14/15 "Stockings...office"

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