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Published: 27-11-2019

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Symbolism in “The Shirt”

Most men and women take the clothing that they put on for granted hence they do not bother to know the labor conditions under which the clothes are produced. In the poem “Shirt” Robert Pinsky goes by way of all the actions in the production of the shirt. The shirt is symbolic of the situations of workers in the sweat factories. Robert translates the effects of historical occurrences into the conditions in the modern day. He starts the poem by describing the sweatshops in Malaysia and Korea exactly where the workers and speaking about politics and gossiping more than tea. The poem pays tribute to the Malaysian and Korean workers in the Triangle Shirts factory. It talks about the Scottish workers that came up with the clan tartans and explains how the workers had been oppressed by the mill owners. The poem depicts the relationships that exist among the workers and the buyers of different goods in the contemporary world.

The language used in the poem is descriptive, and it aids in bringing out the message that the shirt is not an ordinary factor that should be taken for granted by the customer. The poet utilizes the language that is utilized in a factory when he mentions “The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,” (8). The use of factory terminologies plays a essential part in bringing out the setting and the mood of the poem. This language plays a vital function in capturing the reader’s focus. A lot more essential, this terminology reminds the reader of what it requires to have completely –made shirt.

“The Code” that is pointed out in the last line of stanza 3 alludes to the laws that govern the operating situations in the factories. The author alludes to the blaze that occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, in Manhattan in 1911.An excess of a single hundred immigrant laborers lost their lives since of the blaze. He writes that “one hundred and forty-six died in flames” (11).The laborers have been exposed to hazardous conditions such as long operating hours and low wages. The code complies that the laws relating to the safety of the workers had been dismissed and this led to the infamous blaze. The infamous blaze is an image that plays a vital function in bringing out the theme about the exploitation and suffering of workers in the sweat factories. In addition, the inclusion of fire in the poem evokes empathy in the reader simply because it shows that the laborers in the sweat factories are tormented.

Robert Pinsky describes the death of the martyrs from the Triangle Shirt wait factory. For example, he writes that “Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held/Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once” ( 21- 22). The laborers lost their lives since there have been no fire escapes and hydrants. The death of the laborers is comparable to these of the martyrs because they suffer the consequences of the poor conditions at the sweat factories. This vision is vital in emphasizing the plight of the workers in the sweat factories. Furthermore, he mentions George Herbert who was a well-known poet in the seventeenth century and the ancestor of Irma. Irma is the woman from South Carolina that is tasked with the duty of inspecting the shirt. He succeeds in tracing the history of shirt producing by mentioning a prominent particular person like Herbert. The historical reference is important in displaying the losses that are attributed to the sweat factories.

The shirt is a symbol of the easy items that communicate a lot about the lives of the ordinary individuals. The poem is really useful due to the fact it tends to make the reader believe about the shirt he or she is wearing. It makes the reader wonder no matter whether the shirt is created via the exploitation of workers in the sweatshops. The detailed descriptions that are used in the poem to show the relationships between the shirts and the laborers that make them. For example, Pinsky shows the relationships that exist in between him and the woman that inspected his shirt when he states that “And really feel, and its clean smell have satisfied/Each her and me. We have culled its price and quality” (15). This line shows that the laborer does an superb job in carrying out a high-high quality job. Even so, the employers of the laborer do not appreciate this reality based on the conditions that the laborers are necessary to operate. The descriptions underscore the fact that the laborers that make the shirts are human beings that have feelings. The poem conveys the message that simple objects such as the shirt create a lot of thoughts despite their simplicity. The simple objects give a lot of information relating to the day to day occurrences in the life of a human beings.

Arguably, the poem tends to make a sturdy argument about the relationships in between human beings. It offers an explicit revelation about the relationship that exists between the workers and the buyers. Shoppers acquire products without caring the situations below which the merchandise had been developed. The workers toil in a bid to produce various goods, but the consumers seem to ignore their toil and exploitation. Consumers take the workers for granted, and this is not fair simply because with out the workers they will not have clothes. In other words, Pinsky is trying to make attainment that the shoppers ought to appreciate the input of the workers that make their clothes.

Furthermore, the poet makes a statement on how the individuals that own the variables of production exploit the workers in a bid to make profits. The owners exploit the workers in a bid to make maximum earnings. They do not comply with the laws that relate to the security of the workers at the locations or worker. The unhygienic conditions at the locations of operate improve the vulnerability of the workers to hazards such as fire. All in all, Pinsky’s poem makes a effective statement about the labor conditions and the labor relationships in the contemporary world.


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