I'm probably super off about the meaning of this poem but when I picture the snake I picture fear. I'm terrified of snakes, my brother threw a fake one into my shower one time and ever since then I've been deathly afraid. When the snakes slithering I think of the fear that creeps up. Often times we fear because we don't know what lies ahead. We don't take a risk because we are afraid to fall, we don't do the assignment because we are afraid to fail. Its that fear that creeps into our minds and haunts us. Its the thoughts that paralyze us from taking that next step and coming out of our comfort zone. It's that slithering snake in the back of our mind that stops us when we are close. We stay stuck in our comfort level but our comfort level doesn't do us any good because our comfort level doesn't allow us to grow our experience the world. Our comfort zone doesn't allow us to take the risks that sometimes we need to take in order to succeed. I could be totally off in my analysis but that's just the way I see it.
Through reading this poem I notice many math related words including solution, prime numbers, patterns/patterned inch, and directions of where the snake is going. I feel like this poem is made to discuss aspects of numbers and mathematics in a whole new literary way. I feel like this piece of writing holds a lot of mystery about what is taking place while also adding a touch of elegance to the overall meaning. Maybe it is to show that the ideas of math and numbers contains a whole new world of mystery and sophistication that not many people have. The writing seems sophisticated with the word choices and phrasing. Along with the mystery aspect this poem could provoke fear; fear of math for some who do not find it to be their favorite subject. For those who do not understand the concept of math it could feel like it is creeping up on us like the image of the snake in the poem.
After talking to group members I feel like I had a good interpretation however I also think that the main outcome from my analysis is more about fear and finding a solution to an overlying issue. I feel this has to do with the idea of problems or fears sneaking up on you that are out of your control. Also in the end the solution is found but a new fear is introduced, as which happens in life.
The opening here, this is very specific I might have imagined a garden snake or something smaller even--or something larger, like a python. The writer here is curtailing that. I have a clear idea. Gerunds-- inspecting, feeling, nosing, listening. Interesting choices. Because a snake listens? And yet nosing, feeling, yes. That's snake behavior. But the snake feels menacing almost, or intrusive here. It's trying to get into this house but is afraid of the people in it it "withdrew" to find a different way in than the obvious and kitchen door. Too exposed. Assonance. Slows me down, Makes me feel this snake as does the next part the “a” in snake swayed, long A here, also assonance--as well as the S alliteration. Of course the question here is what does the speaker want me to know about this snake. And yet here is a turn in the poem for me. It’s we--so we have a "companion" and then the big shift. The speaker is speaking to the other person in the house directly. The observations about the snake are being relayed to the "you" here. And a comparison is being made between "you" and the snake. Not a bad one: "inquisitive" "companion" An inquisitive companion sounds nice. Here our description shifts to the 'You" and the number theory of the title. Math is about patterns on some level. trying to seek a pattern.--order? The snake is looking for a warm home. Is order a warm home for the "you" of this poem. What does the speaker feel about this? Is the speaker marveling at it? Worried? Interested in it? To some extent, the speaker can only know as much about her human companion as she/he does about the snake.The snake and the "you" of the poem are both searching for comfort on some level. The snake by finding a way in. The observed you by seeking order, a pattern--a way into the light. The last line we move out to describe the state of the house--shaky where wasps gnaw the walls. Wholly frightening. Unpleasant. Suggests neither the “you” companion or the snake are really safe--the false sense of what order can provide you, the false sense of safety, quite literally, for the snake.
I read this poem to be about something, abstract, trying to get inside something or someone. The first half of the poem depicts a snake trying to enter a house, but the lines "we know we're living with a patient/ companion, like you, inquisitive" invites the reader to connect with the snake, or compare their own state with it. The only way the poet knows the reader inquisitive is because they're reading their poem, curious to get inside it's real meaning. The ending of the poem focuses on whatever it is the snake actually represents, with its determination to get inside. I think the inside could represent the mind, and whatever is trying to get inside, whether it be unwanted thoughts or an sought after answer, will eventually find its way in.
I think I was somewhat on the right track toward understanding the underlying meaning of this poem, but after talking with my group I definitely gained a better understanding. I didn't connect so much the fear that a snake might symbolize that my peers were able to pick up on. I also found it easier to understand my own interpretation by talking in through with my group members. I found myself articulating better ideas in the group discussion than i had before on my original post. Instead of seeing the snake as an idea trying to enter the mind, I see it as a concept that we might be intimated to learn and understand, such as math.
Rosanna Warren's "Number Theory" is a poem which describes the slippery process of solving a math equation. The answer, presented in the poem as being a "four-and-a-half-foot black-backed rat snake" (1), wants to be solved, wants to find "a way into" (3) the student's mind. Sometimes, however, the more intently we focus on solving an equation, the more elusive it somehow becomes. When their eyes meet, the student's and the answer's, the answer slips away again; it "withdr[aws]" (4), never to be seen again. No matter how thoroughly "you probe / the gaps between prime numbers" (14-15), the answer refuses to be found.
Now, all of this is a real stretch, but the poem is clearly math-oriented. The first line in particular is conscious of the sounds it is creating.
Hearing how Alexis interpreted the poem, I would like to add to my post the element of fear that I failed to pick up on my first time reading the poem. It is an unnerving poem for sure, and seeing the snake as representing fear in the poem is definitely a worthwhile way of reading "Number Theory." Likewise, Dr. Torda's attention to the poem's assonance. There were many aspects to the poem I failed to pick up on myself that were later brought to my attention by others.
This author is comparing a snake trying to get into a home to someone’s curiosity. She describes the snake taking different routes to try to enter the home through feeling or listening in order to find an answer. Warren wants the reader to understand that it requires a lot of investigation in order to find a solution to a problem. It also requires curiosity. This poem raises a lot of question for its true meaning, but it is because the author wants us, as readers, to be curious. She wants us to take apart her work and have to use the same senses that the snake did in order to try to get into the house. It requires listening and feeling and we have to use our senses.
I think that this poem can also be related to what effect our fears can have in our life. The author uses objects that are known to bring fear out in people such as, snakes or wasps. The author could be implying that fears can sometimes get out of our control but we should not let them. It is important to find ways to overcome these fears.
The poem, “Number Theory” seems to connect the movement of a snake to mathematical terms and references. Using phrases like, “length” “inch” “solution” “infinity” and “prime numbers.” The poem follows the path or pattern of the snake who is attempting to reach the inside of the home. The poem is addressing another figure throughout though, stating, “like you.” I’m not necessarily sure who the poem is addressing and why the snake is the underlying thing being followed. There is a sense of uneasiness with the snake lurking and trying to find a way in though. Towards the end of the poem, the reference to a “lit space” takes away that uneasiness feeling of the snake and that there isn’t this thing where we don’t know its next move or path. Connecting the nervousness of the snake to the subject of math could entail that math sometimes gives us those same feelings that we can’t shake until we have found a solution or “lit space.”
I would add that this poem is meant to take us back to a time of being scared and how we handled that moment. Everyone has fears, as they can be as opposite as snakes and math are.
The poem “Number Theory” by Rosanna Warren is a unique poem about both snakes and numbers. There are math terms in the poem such as infinity, prime, feet, inches, length and mirror. The comparison between numbers and snakes is confusing to me and I don’t understand the connection. I see patterns on snakes just like there are number patterns. I am assuming the snake is a metaphor or symbol for something. The poem could be making the argument that patterns are sneaking everywhere around us even when we do not realize it.
I would add that the argument in this poem could be about more than just math. I agree that snakes can represent fear and maybe another analysis could involve students being afraid to approach new things, not just math but also reading and writing. Snakes slithering around could represent the avoidance or anxiety that consumes us.
My interpretation of the poem is our fears and problems will always work themselves into our lives. It is how we deal with these problems that define them. Our fears can creep up on us or they can show themselves abruptly. This paralyzing fear does not let you become comfortable and we are always looking for solutions to these problems. I myself am terrified of spiders and probably always will be. The dialog in the poem reminded me of how they affect me. When dealing with these problems it's important to not let them control you.
I would add that these thoughts that the narrator had could be more interpreted as abstract thoughts. I read them as anxious feelings and how they can represent something fearful. I also wanted to note that the ending could mean that the narrator found peace or solitude, but it abruptly shifts to something new to be anxious about.
I agree with both of you guys. yes our fears can get into our ways, sometimes it's hard for us to let go and be comfortable in ourselves,.
I would say that this poem is like our life and how our fears and problems will always work themselves. Sometimes we just need to deal with our problem and define them. Our fears can creep or show to us. This can also be paralyzing for not allowing yourself to be more comfortable in yourself or be scared of the spiders.
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