Essay on Vicious Circle

Submitted By amiller1211
Words: 978
Pages: 4

Vicious Circle

Life is never an easy thing to live. Each day a person is faced with struggles and obstacles that he or she must overcome in order to move forward in their life. Sometimes, moving on is easy and voluntary, while for others it is difficult. Tom Thornburg does an excellent job at illustrating this concept. Thornburg’s poem “In A Common Tavern” is a great illustration for one woman’s journey to escape her abusive and alcoholic husband. The story begins by telling how happy the woman once was in her hometown, but ultimately leads to her fleeing from her husband after he abuses their child. Thornburg tells a story through her eyes of how difficult it is to leave behind something or someone that was once loved. “I did not come this south to north for growth, No north roots pulled me, no, nor northern home,…” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?). This is the first line of the poem. Just this line tells readers that the woman didn’t leave her home because she wanted to. In most cases, when someone leaves their home, it’s because they are trying to find their own way or grow in life. This woman didn’t want to leave, but felt that she had to. The following lines describe her home, and how happy she was being there. The two lines “…for both were happy where we were…” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?) and “…the mirrored love That made a kind of magic once.” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?) describe the woman’s relationship with her husband. They were happy in their home, full of love and respect for one another, up until something changed. “One day the magic and the mirror broken In splendid ruin on the ruined floor…” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?) Nothing could be done to fix the problems between them. “…Could not be mended anywise, not spoken.” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?). Once the problems started between the husband and wife, they only got worse, and the physical fighting started. “…Crept in the wakeful halls and bit us and we bled…” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?). The turning point for the woman was when she gave birth to her daughter, and the husband started to beat her as well. “I wept and bled and birthed a daughter Whom he seized up and struck and slew her joy…” (Thornburg, 2001, p. ?). The line “…As drunken father did him when a boy.” (Thornburg, 2001, p.?) is an attempted to explain to the audience exactly what is happening. This line helped me to understand the poem as a whole, because it shows why the husband is the way that he is. As a child, he was beaten by his alcoholic father, and grew up to be an alcoholic as well and do the things his father did to him. At this point in the poem, the woman feels that she has to leave, because it isn’t safe for her or her newborn child. “Down all the darksome ways we fled his reach…” (Thornburg, 2001, p.?). The woman takes her child and runs to the north to get away from her husband. Her reluctance to leave is shown in how she describes her home once again, but contradicts it with a negative reference to emphasize the reason and to why she must leave. “…Far from the sun, the lapping purling beaches, The savage vistas where his dark god led him.” (Thornburg, 2001, p.?). It’s almost as if she’s referring to her beautiful home as a place that was made dark and evil by her abusive husband. Although the woman and her daughter escape from him, they are still plagued by his memory. The daughter has nightmares about what happened when they were still with him, but she misses the beauty of the place they once