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The Bastard Peace. The Bastard Peace. Thesis: WILLIAMs illustrates the image of poverty while incorporating aspects of springtime in order to comprehend the actual meaning of peace. . Overall Interpretation. Servants are trapped and living in poverty

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the bastard peace1

The Bastard Peace

Thesis: WILLIAMs illustrates the image of poverty while incorporating aspects of springtime in order to comprehend the actual meaning of peace.

overall interpretation
Overall Interpretation
  • Servants are trapped and living in poverty
    • “-where a heavy woven-wire fence topped with jagged ends, encloses a long cinder-field by the river-” (1st Stanza)
  • People still have the sense of hope
    • “A dandelion in bloom-and a white butterfly-” (Lines 11-12)
  • However, people lack confidence for change.
    • “The sun parches still the parched grass.” (Lines 13-14)
  • Continue living their “peaceful” life.
    • “There to rest, to improvise and unbend!” (Line 23-24)
  • False peace (title)
sense meaning and language

Speaker: A poor individual

  • Point of view: 1st Person
  • Internal monologue: Expressive Thoughts
  • Mood: Hopeless
    • “Cinder Field” (4)
    • “Parched Grass” (14)
  • Diction:
    • “Bastard Peace” : A false peace (title)
    • “Disposal Tank”, “Sewer Intakes” : Loss of freedom.
    • “Dandelion”, “White Butterfly”, “Service Path” : Sense of hope
  • Repetition:
    • “Water” repeated 2x: Freedom
    • “Fence” repeated 3x: Blocked Freedom
Sense:Meaning and Language


Williams wants to show the understanding of poverty and using 1st person is the effective way.

By involving the images of springtime, it portrays the concealed sense of hope which tells the reader that poverty is not peaceful.

Williams repeats important words to communicate the extent of poverty.

senses imagery and symbols

Imagery of Poverty

  • Parched Grass/Cinder Field
  • Cracked Houses
  • Home-made push cart
  • Small wooden pit-covers
  • Two chickens

Springtime Imagery

    • Dandelion in bloom (line 11)
    • A white butterfly (line 11-12)
    • Shining water/river
    • Sun

Symbolism: color

    • “a white butterfly” (line 11)
Senses: Imagery and Symbols


Williams uses the imagery of poverty and springtime to help contrast the ideas between good peace and bad peace visually.

The color ‘white’ is used as a symbol to indicate that the people surrender and are hoping for better peace.

style poetry t echniques


    • The sun parches still the parched grass. (Line 13-14)
  • Paradox
    • Title contradicts poem
  • Stream of Consciousness
    • Thoughts show that society is not peaceful
      • Repetition: ‘fence’ 3x
      • The essence of springtime
Style: Poetry Techniques


Williams enhances the bad image of poverty.

Williams’s use of stream of consciousness helps communicate the true thoughts of poverty.

structure form organization and pattern

Poverty is continuous

    • End Stopped with hyphens
      • Represents a cycle in the poem
    • Syntax
      • Long sentences
      • No period at third sentence at the end of the poem
    • Stanza: 4 lines each
      • No change in society
  • Exclamation Points
    • Symbolizes hidden positivity.
      • “Gidap!” (Line 21)
      • “There to rest, to improvise and unbend!” (Lines 23-24)
Structure: form, organization, and pattern


The structure of the sentences indicates the duration of poverty by showing that poverty is never-ending.

Williams incorporates the exclamation points to contrast the emotion between poverty and peace.

sound musicality and auditory t echniques


    • “by” and “butterfly” (Lines 10 and 12)
  • Free Verse
    • Throughout the poem with the exception of line 10 and 12
Sound: Musicality and Auditory Techniques


Williams uses end rhyme at one point to emphasize the concealed sense of hope to show depression.

Williams uses free verse to consider poverty as ‘peaceful;’ however, it is seen as depressed through the reader’s view.

connection to other poetry by williams
Connection to Other Poetry by Williams
  • Poems with similar ideas:
    • “The Poor”
      • The use of visual imagery to enhance understanding
      • Same idea of poverty
  • Historical context:
    • The Great Depression (1929-1943)
part 1 activity
Part 1: Activity

Draw an image of what you think true peace means to you.

part 2 discussion
Part 2: Discussion

If the poet were to add a period at the end of the poem, would this bring any effect on the idea of poverty and explain why?

The poet has incorporated images of springtime in the poem. Would the main idea of the poem change if the theme ‘spring’ were omitted? How effective would this change be on the main idea of the poem?



Based on the use of imagery and structure of the poem, It can be determined that poverty is not peaceful but is consider imaginary peace until a miracle occurs.