Arithmetic

February 7th, 2011

Dear marvelously, wonderpipical* students,

I love that Walls Within Walls is jammed full of poems.  One of them, “Arithmetic,” by Carl Sandberg is part of your homework assignment this week.  It is overflowing with similes and metaphors.  Most interesting to me is that Sandberg seems to be “personifying” arithmetic itself, turning it into a person who bosses us around.  My favorite stanza from the poem is the 8th one, which sounds like a math problem that Cory would write for us.  The last line is pretty fabulous too, “If you ask your mother for one friend egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother.”  It’s hard to read that line and not smile.

I want to hear your response to the poem.  Be specific.  Choose a stanza from the poem and describe what you like (or don’t like) about it.  Use our literary terms like “personification,” “metaphor,” and “simile.”  Describe why you think this poem might be included in the book at all.  I can’t wait to hear your answers.!

Love, Mrs. W.

*That’s a word from a Children of the Lamp book.