Analysis of the Poem Two’s Company by Raymond Wilson



Raymond Wilson is a well-known American author of many publications-articles in many learned journals. He was a professor of history in his university in Kansas and has won many awards and honors for his writing and university teaching. In the poem he entertains the reader with his story telling voice about a ghost story.

Two’s Company

They said the house was haunted , but
he laughed at them and said, ‚Tut, tut!
I never heard such tittle-tattle
as ghosts that groan and chains that rattle;
And just to prove I’m in the right,
please leave me here to spend the night.’

tut,tut/ title-tattle/ groan, rattle  (onomatopoeia) -sounds with meaning add life to the conversation forming auditory images
Point of view – third person
They - This can be a group of youth who are naturally curious with ghost affairs discuss about ghosts.
He – Probably a boy who tries to prove himself brave.

There are people in the society who are either disbelieve ghost stories or show off that they do not fear ghosts nor believe in such stories (may be just to show that they are brave.) Sometime people challenge each other to prove themselves in a group; naturally we can find this kind of behavior in the youth.

They winked absurdly, tried to smother
their ignorant laughter, nudged each other,
and left him just as dusk was falling
with a hunchback moon and screech owls calling.
Not that this troubled him one bit;
in fact, he was quite glad of it,
knowing it’s every sane man’s mission
to contradict all superstition.

hunchback moon/screech owls calling (imagery/personification) – creates a ghostly environment, reader can visualize the atmosphere.

Poet illustrates the scene bringing visual imageries to the scene. The environment foreshadows the eminent horror that he is going to face; thus the reader gets ready to experience something sad or fearsome.  The behavior of others shows that they know something that the challenger does not know; they are quite happy that he is going to learn a lesson. On the other hand, the hero is happy that he has a sacred mission to fight against the superstition.

But what is that? Outside it seemed
as if chains rattled, someone screamed!
Come, come, it’s merely nerves, he’s certain
(but just the same, he draws the curtain).
The stroke of twelve — but there’s no clock!
He shuts the door and turns the lock
(of course he knows that no-one’s there,
but no harm’s done by taking care!);

But what is that? (poet intervenes) poet takes the attention of the reader of the poem utilizing a story telling style.
rattle (onomatopoeia) – make a creepy sound effect.
(but just the same….) – showing the actions like in a drama script which make it easy for the reader to visualize the things happening.

Intervention of the poet involves the reader creating suspense; he asks questions from the readers to accompany them to the scene. (quite dramatic) Poet introduces the behavior of the hero with in brackets (just like in a drama script) which evokes humor. His behavior is contradictory to his boasting in first part of the poem. His behavior exactly shows the frightened state of his mind. That shows the reality of the most in the society. Although everyone knows that there is no such thing called ghosts, everybody fears the devil in the dark cave.   
 
someone’s outside the silly joker,
(he may as well pick up the poker!)
That noise again! He checks the doors,
shutters the windows, makes a pause
to seek the safest place to hide —
(the cupboard’s strong — he creeps inside).
‚Not that there’s anything to fear‘
he tells himself, when at his ear
a voice breathes softly, ‚How do you do!
I am the ghost. Pray who are you?´

a voice breathes (personification) – create a creepy effect.

Although the challenger knows that there is nothing to fear, he arms himself with a poker hiding under a cupboard. The end is quite ironic to the subheading where the reader expects a sad ending but find humor. The actions, behavior and utterances evokes humor just like watching a humorous movie. The introduction of the ghost is rather gentlemanlike deepening the humor.  

Theme: duality of people
Tone: humorous
Mood: creepy/humorous
Diction: narrative, quick in movement because of rhyming couplets and end-stopped lines
Rhyme: Rhyming couplets (AABBCC)
Title: ironic (he does not expect a ghost as company and subtitle is ironically misleading the reader to read a sad story yet they will find a humorous story)

What does the poem tell about nature of people, although most people do not believe in ghosts, everybody has a dark corner for evil things like ghosts in their mind which had been germinating since childhood. At certain times, it comes up like a rubber ball hid under water. Poet brings out this dual reality within most of us. Don’t you think so? Why don’t you comment your idea about the poem, you also can share your idea using the social share buttons right below.   

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