Looking, Seeing, and Experiencing

Discuss the significance of the last line of “The Orange Tree”

There is a great leap between the worlds of looking, seeing, and experiencing. The way in which one simply observes an object can never reach the levels of understanding that one might if they take time to experience every aspect of it without bias or distraction. This is embodied in “The Orange Tree” as the young girl grows ever more frustrated with the older persona who cannot see what she sees in the orange tree. The final stanza is significant within the poem as it establishes both the spiritual experience the young girl is having and the stagnant nature of the personas understanding. Her exclamation of “Silence!” is a break from the previous repetition of “Listen”, and conveys her belief that the man will never undertstand how she feels, as long as he insists on trying to convey it in words. She insists he “wearies” and “plagues” her, detracting from her experience with the Orange Tree. The final line “[I] Am listening like the Orange Tree” changes the tone of the poem, as she trancends the barier between seeing and experiencing herself, going from understanding the light on the Orange Tree, to feeling it and listening to it, as the Orange Tree itself does.

 

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