Sunday, November 16, 2014

Raison d'etre by Sharlee Mullins Glenn

Often times analyzing all facets of a poem allows us to gain a deeper understanding of its context. This is true for this poem in which the title of the poem “Raison d’etre” presents the reader with more information leading to an increased understanding. Raison d’etre is a French term meaning “the reason for existence”. Having a foreign phrase as a title presents a difficulty to the reader because without a formal knowledge of French you must search for the meaning. In the day of smart phones and computers, this is not a hard thing to do; however, the poem itself had no references to France and made me wonder why the author would add the term in if it added no value to the context of the poem.

The title for this poem really is quite essential if you want to understand what is being portrayed. The author in her poem makes the statement that “the closest distance between two points is a straight line” and then goes on to challenge that statement by saying that most things such as ripples, light and sound waves do not travel is a straight line. She then continues saying that experience is also best transmitted via twists, loops and spirals. To finish off the authors says that such convulsion makes sense and that is why we have poetry. From what I gathered from the poem the author was trying to say that it is through twist and turns that things are best communicated, especially if you try to communicate through poetry.

I chose to analyze this poem because it reminded me of the many times I have gone hiking through the mountains without knowing where I was going. Often the best adventures we go on come from wandering aimlessly trying to find our way. Not traveling in a straight line often allows you to trip and stumble, adding to the experience you have.

Endure to the end is an LDS topic that I saw in this poem. Often if we go down an unplanned path we feel that we are doing something wrong. This poem points out very nicely that if we continue to persevere through the difficult times, those twists, loops and turns we travel on will add to our experience in life and make it more interesting. 


  1. Your post inspired me to go and read this poem, your essay is very engaging! I love the concept that the best way to communicate is through twists and turns. In a lot of situations that is very accurate, even though it seems counterintuitive. I think that presents an interesting twist in terms of Mormonism- we believe in the straight and narrow path and the iron rod, but we also accept that living in faith means getting to an unforeseen end on a seemingly random and often rocky path.

  2. In your post you mentioned loops and twists and turns many times in your post and they all had different examples each time mentioned. I really liked what examples you had used in your post especially the ending. I really liked the ending when you tied in the gospel reference.Reading through your post you had posted was very enjoyable.Thanks for your post!

  3. I loved your wonder at the title. That it is French and there are no other french inferences there, so it doesn't add much. But maybe it does! Maybe the author wanted us to look up the term and add it to our own personal word library. Or maybe her mother used to say that all the time when life-lessons came around. You added the same wonder and twists and turns that the author did. Thank you!