This poem confused me after reading it the first time.Going back in for the second time I believe that I may have a better grasp on it. I think that this poem is about our thoughts and how they come into our minds. The poet says "The opening through which your thought will glide suddenly into a light space and be at home" (Warren). I think that when we have thoughts they tend to sneak in like a snake and make themselves at home, thus giving us the ideas and knowledge we have. I like that the author compared it to a snake because when you have a thought it will find its way in through any opening in your mind.
This poem seems to be about a student who is struggling to understand a math concept math pattern (“It’s a pattern you seek”) and eventually finds a solution. This is the surface level interpretation of what I think the poem means. Warren starts off by comparing the inquisitive student in their chair to a snake trying to figure out how it can squeeze its way a house. The student like the snake is “listening its way to a solution.” In the middle of the poem she talks more about the student trying to find a math problem. Then towards the end of “Number Theory” Warren goes back to the snake comparison where the student “glides suddenly into a lit space.” This lit space could represent the math knowledge acquired by the student and how they have become “enlightened” by their effort to solve the pattern/problem. The “shaky house” might represent the discomfort/challenge of learning a new concept in the classroom.
I struggle a lot with poetry and I always have but I will try my best to find some sort of meaning within the text. The title of the poem is "Number Theory", this makes me think that the poem will be about numbers in some capacity but this is not truly the case outright. A big portion of the poem is about this snake that is slivering around outside someone's house. Maybe this poem is about the idea of understanding a topic and how understanding can be hard to grasp. I think the snake represents us, people and how we poke, prod and search to find understanding. I think this because of this line from the text, "inspecting every crevice, feeling, nosing, listening its way toward a solution" (Warren). This reminds me of how people think, the solution does not just comes to them you have to look for it. You have to think and experiment, that is what I think this poem could possibly be about.
Can I just say that I really hate poetry? Now that that's out... I think the poem is about the process of learning math/numbers. I loved the beginning of the piece, the description of the snake and it's movements were beautiful. Once Warren veers off into talking to "you" is where it got a little lost for me. I think she was trying to use the visuals of the snake to express how she feels math/numbers will eventually come to you naturally, and when you encounter one issue you'll seek out the answer to it, but the ending is confusing to me. Maybe it means you'll never fully understand math/numbers but you'll eventually grasp enough knowledge about it to "make it". Overall, I have more questions than answers here. I don't know why poets always try and talk in code, can't you find a creative way to express your thoughts without making people second guess themselves? lol
The poem, "Number Theory" was interesting to me, and I had to read it a few times before I could grasp an idea. The last few lines in the poem are what truly helped me understand an idea. The author is using the snake metaphorically as the person in the poem's thoughts. The reason it is called "Number Theory" is because the mind has multiple thoughts running around all the time, which creates infinity. A part in the poem that made me think this is "It’s pattern you seek.The opening through which
your thought will glide suddenly into a lit space
and be at home. In a shaky house, where wasps gnaw the walls." This person who is the main character in this poem, seems to me that he/she/you has a lot going on in their mind and that's why the author refers it to a shaky house.
This poem definitely had me rereading it and even then, I was at a loss for what it truly meant. The poem almost had an uneasy feeling to it as if Warren was discussing her own personal feelings revolving a situation in her life. When I was reading it, I pictured a woman sitting down, with emotions circulating around her and her sitting their almost anxious, "you sit taut in your chair, whispering, as you probe the gaps between prime numbers" (Warren), almost as if she is just observing her surroundings and taking it all in.
I think this poem is about attempting to figure out a challenge or problem. The poem itself suggests something related to mathematics, but with its reference to the snake suggests it could also be navigating one's way through a challenge, with the snake finding a way in at the end representing the slow walk to finding the solution.
This poem reminded me a lot of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. The big scary snake is trying to make its way into the home, which makes me think of worrying about worst case scenarios and scary thoughts. The big girthy snake finds its way through the tiny crack, which makes me think of how the speaker is trying to keep these thoughts away, but they sneak in regardless. The crack is the space where the thoughts enter the speaker's mind, and suddenly there is light. Maybe their thoughts were cleared? Is it possible that the wasps gnawing at the walls is a metaphor for the speaker trying to get out of their own head?
This poem quickly takes a turn. It is clear at the beginning that we are witnessing the actions of a snake, but then the author relates the fact that the snake is patient to ourselves being patient. We are patient with our listing of numbers until infinity. Just as the snake glides away we “glide suddenly into a lit space.” I think that the author is comparing our thought processes like how a snake glides. Thoughts come out of nowhere and somehow find a way to glide into our minds, just as the snake glides through the hole. I also believe that the “shaky house” could possibly represent our brain and all the thoughts that crowd our minds, while some thoughts glide to the forefront. At first I didn't think this poem was quite clear, but I feel I can confidently say what my interpretation of the larger meaning is.
I was immediately pulled into the story the moment I began reading, "Number Theory." It seems to me that the author is trying to create a visual pattern for the reader top follow. The pattern begins with the snake slithering across the kitchen floor and into the cracks while the narrator watches in curiosity and astonishment. I have also noticed that while a pattern is being followed, an image is also created. The author uses great forms of simile to compare the snake to a companion. For instance, "So
we know we’re living with a patient companion, like you, inquisitive."(Warren)
Number Theory starts out with a speaker narrating the progress of a snake. The snake finds its way into the house. At a certain point, we realize that the narrator is not alone, that he/she is speaking to another occupant of the house. At this point, the poem shifts from watching the progress of the snake to this other person in the house. The person is trying to figure out something with numbers--numbers are sort of a symbol of order to me, that if you can figure something out with math it feels solid and real. But here the speaker is talking about infinity, which is an unsettling concept. I remember trying to deterimine where infinity ended with my mother who only grew frustrated at my desire to be able to say this, this is the end. And I think that this sense of anxiety at not finding the safe space, for the person in the house who is not the speaker to "step into the light", light being warm, illuminating is the focus, ultimately of the poem. The snake and the person the speaker is observing are one in the same looking for safety. But the last line is the gut punch, because the house is drafty and wasp eaten. That's not a safe space for the snake that was working so hard to be in the house in the first place. And it seems fit commentary on the other unnamed occupant of the house who is also seeking comfort, shelter, solace in a fashion that will not yield it.
I’m definitely struggling with figuring out what the poem is about, but it appears to be creating a comparison between snakes and math. Clearly, it’s important that the snake is described as 4 ½ feet, but is it just to relate it to math? It’s a rat snake, which name includes two animals that are considered nuisances in the home. The snake is seeking its way in, similar to how we seek a solution to problems. The poem details the snake withdrawing from eyes to find a solution to enter the home somewhere else. Does that mean that the answer cannot always be easy to find, but through hard work, one may find a solution? The snake must squeeze to impossible length and girth to fit through the crack which could infer that finding solutions is not always easy and requires patience and inquisitiveness. The opening through which your thoughts glide relates to how the snake had to squeeze himself through the opening. Are the gaps between prime numbers the cracks that the snake must sneak through, but what do they mean by the pattern you seek?
I related the writing to someone suffering from intrusive thoughts or OCD. The snake represents the intrusive though that is constantly trying to get into the house which could represent a person's mind. This could be supported from the line "inspecting every crevice,
feeling, nosing, listening its way toward a solution." This is a very similar feeling to how these thoughts work as your mind will sometimes not stop trying to make you believe something to be true. The way someone suffering from these thoughts can cope is by distracting themselves with thinking instead of reacting to the feelings. This can be represented in the poem by this line " whispering, as you probe the gaps between prime numbers. Until infinity." Finally if a person does succumb to these thoughts and the condition goes untreated it can control a person's life to an extent. The final line talks about how letting the thoughts in and taking control can feel better at first but doing this overtime can weaken and hurt the person's mind, "The opening through which your thought will glide suddenly into a lit space and be at home. In a shaky house, where wasps gnaw the walls."
As we've been talking about global prediction, this poems title made me think that it was mainly going to be about numbers. It does talk about numbers, but not in the way that I would have expected. We see the process of working through a number theory being compaired to a very large snake. Snakes, much like figuring out mathematics, spend time evaluating and manipulating, and trying a plethora of different things, in order to reach their goal. The snake spend time moving around the foundation of the house, trying to find weaknesses or points of entry. This is portrayed in the poem when it says "feeling, nosing, listening its way/ toward a solution, which it found /around the corner, up the back flagstone steps" (Warren lines 7-9). The person in the poem is essentially doing the same thing. Theyre analyzing this number theory, trying to find passages to the solution. And once the snake finds the opening and the person finds the solution, Warren shares that "your thought will glide suddenly into a lit space" (Warren 17).
After reading “Number Theory” by Rosanna Warren, I am left with a few lingering thoughts. Initially, I assumed this poem to be about a rat in comparison to the “you” the speaker is addressing. Yet, the incorporation of math terminology such as “infinity”, “pattern”, and “prime numbers”, leads me to believe there is another purpose. Maybe it is about the rationality of math in comparison to the irrationality of human thought. The ending line “in a shaky house, where wasps gnaw the walls” leads me to this belief. This line alludes to a sense of destabilization. Whereas the rat can inspect “every crevice” there are still “cracks” and “gaps” in the ability for the rat to be fully attentive. These are just my initial thoughts.
I found this poem to be a journey of trying to compete a math problem, and all the different directions it can take before you reach the right answer. The snake can represent a student's writing going all over the place and trying different techniques. The perspective changes to the student itself find still confused but finding a pattern that will keep repeating itself until they notice something off and can correct it and hopefully gain the answer from it.
After reading the poem a few times, even though I still do not quite understand it completely, I think it is about comparing the snake to the person in the house. In the poem, Warren starts off talking about how a snake tried to get into the house while referring that it was “gliding.” Then she continues comparing the person to the snake by expressing, “So we know we are living with a patient companion, like you, inquisitive. You sit taut in your chair, whispering, as you probe the gaps between prime numbers” (Warren). This makes me think that “prime numbers” and “patterns” are just a metaphor. Maybe it symbolizes a way of life—how people or rather this person tries to always find patterns (solutions) and live a steady life instead of an “odd prime way of life at home.”
After reading the poem, “Number Theory” I sort of got an understanding of what the poem is about. I first analyzed the title. It says numbers; therefore, I concluded that it must be about math. But as I kept reading it, I noticed that it can be more than that. I had to read it twice because when it comes to interpreting poems, you always have to read them more than once. I saw it as navigating challenges through life. There’s a snake who obviously doesn’t want you to do good, but at the end of the poem. “The opening through which your thought will glide suddenly into a lit space and be at home.” When you defeat the snake, you are finally at home. Math was a device used in the poem. It is used to find a pattern. But is there a pattern? It was very confusing. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it.
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