Ramsey Tally Stick Analysis

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Ramsey’s tally stick included uncontrollable events that occurred outside of his marriage. Some moments in history were insignificant to the tally stick’s revision and were etched into it as “random hash-marks” (15). Other occurrences have more of an impact on Ramsey’s marriage and life, which is why Ramsey included “Events, History” (15) on the tally stick. These moments in history appear insignificant to Ramsey as he marked them as. He goes into detail about two historical events that he etched onto the tally stick. The “Year the World Went Wrong” (17) refers to the year the United States sent troops to Vietnam. This eventually intensified into the Vietnam War, including the countries of France, Russia, and China. Another set of hash-marks …show more content…
The reader can deduce Ramsey and his wife are approaching the end of life by Ramsey’s indication that the stick is “whittled nearly end to end” (20). Despite the fact that the stick was made out of “mountain mahogany” (4), its current state is “delicate as scrimshaw” (21). The couple made so many memories and experienced so much throughout their marriage that there is not much of the tally stick left. Ramsey further describes the stick’s fragile state as he explains that it would not “bear” (21) his wife if she were to use it as a cane. The lines stating “regrets have polished it” (22) and “hand over hand” (22) symbolize times of dispute during their marriage. Ramsey’s description of the smoothened and “polished” (22) wood depicts the effort and sturdy grip required to hold the stick while caring it. This is equivalent to the hardships and “regrets” (22) of his marriage. The end of the poem also delves into Ramsey’s desires for the last years with his beloved wife. Along with creating new memories, Ramsey wants to reminisce on the ones they already created, which is depicted by their “unforgotten wonders”