Analysis of Mark Strand’s “Keeping Things Whole”

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Although it’s not a lengthy poem, the few words and their layout in “Keeping Things Whole” certainly possess great significance. This poem is centered on the idea that the narrator’s life is lacking purpose. In exploring the meaning of his existence, he determined that his reason for living was to keep moving so that people’s lives were only temporarily interrupted. Strand’s technique of splitting up his sentences helps emphasize certain phrases …

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showed last 75 words of 526 total
…two lines I felt a sense of saddened acceptance of life in the narrator’s speech. Since he concluded that his existence was unnecessary and bothersome, the only way he can continue in his monotonous life is by continually moving around, so that he disturbs everyone’s lives equally and doesn’t become too much of a bother in one place. With that mindset, the narrator believes that his absence is what keeps things whole.