NOT WAIVING BUT DROWNING 2
Not Waiving But Drowning
In the poem, “Not Waiving But Drowning” Stevie Smith, the author, writes about a man who has drowned. He drowned while swimming, but his friends did not realize it, because they thought he was waiving. They did not think that he was drowning because he always loved larking, or playing harmless pranks. The setting appears to be the scene of death. Stevie uses the point of view of an observer, a voice of another at the scene, and the voice of the dead man.
The point of view was interesting to me. I got the image of a crowd of people at a beach where a drowning victim has been pulled in, and people are standing around him. As I read, I read as the point of view of the observer. I could see myself standing around, hearing all the people watching, and hearing one his friends saying that he “always loved larking”(Smith). Knowing the thoughts of the dead man was most interesting to me. Stevie Smith gives him a voice as if he were still alive to help the confused crowd and his friends understand what happened.
Another thing that interested me about this poem was the content. Stevie Smith uses a man who drowned, while people thought he was waiving, as a metaphor for how people may act in their daily lives. She suggests that some people may be uncomfortable with their place in this world so they joke a lot (lark) and put up an act of bravery. Sometimes, however, like the man in this poem, the pretense wares out and they become lost or dead (Smith). The drowning man says he was much too far out his whole life. This means, he always felt like he was the outside, or never really part of anything. So, in order for him the fit it he was always joyful, laughing and having a good time, when in fact, on the inside they are “drowning, not Waiving.”
NOT WAIVING BUT DROWNING...