The James Wright Festival
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The James Wright Festival
Part One
After reading the poem entitled “Youth”, I felt that James Wright was not only describing the life of his father but also the lives of the many other factory workers in the Ohio Valley. Many of these workers had either dropped out of school or went straight to the factories after high school, never really getting a chance to enjoy their lives as young ““`adults. I think that has something to do with the title of this poem. Its clear that Wright knew his father and the other men were not satisfied with their jobs and just chose not to speak about it. These factory workers slaved away and then came home “quiet as the evening” probably because they were content to just be relaxing at home with their families. They knew that this was their way of life and they had to do it, even if they had big dreams to someday get away. I think that Wright was also trying to make a point that these men who worked so hard every day were not valued as much as they should have been. These men did not have the education to get a higher paying job but they did have the proper skills and knowledge to work in the factories. I like that James Wright mentioned Sherwood Anderson in this poem as I enjoy his work. Anderson left his Ohio hometown for Chicago to pursuit bigger and better things because he knew if he stayed in the area, he would be unhappy. However, it is a little ironic that Anderson one day just got up and left in the middle of writing and was said to have a mental breakdown.

I can definitely see what Wright was communicating with this poem. I had a somewhat depressed feeling after reading it, but I dont know how one could read this and NOT feel that way. I also felt a little sad because I have been around people like this all of my life. Family, friends, friends of the family- a large majority of these people worked in factories and in the steel mills. As a child, I did not realize just how hard working these people were but of course as I grew older I started to understand. No one really spoke of it, as Wright also expressed in the poem.

As far as what was important to me in the experience of the poem, I felt that the fact that I could actually relate was important. It is not very often that a reader can completely grasp an idea that a poet is trying to get across, but I felt that I understood this poem well. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I grew up in the same area and completely understand what Wright was talking about.

Part Two
Wright begins this poem with, “Strange bird, His song remains secret.” Of course I looked at this literally, and then after reading the entire poem I took a more figurative approach. The

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James Wright And Factory Workers. (April 12, 2021). Retrieved from