A Boy Named Sue -Shel Silverstein

Ashlee Tousana

A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein

The literal interpretation of the poem is that there is a man named Sue who is very angry through out his life because of the name his father gave him. In the beginning of the poem The speaker talks about how his father left him barely anything. The worst thing he left him was his name, Sue.

The second stanza depicts how the speakers life was during his childhood. The speaker states that his name was taken as some sort of a "joke". People would laugh at him which made him have to grow thick skin. He also felt as though he had to fight every one that made fun of him..

Because of this constant fighting that occurred because of being bullied, the speaker shares in stanza three that he a very mad person with hard fists and a quick wit. He often had to becaome a nomad, going from town to town because he was so ashamed of his name. But one day he made a vow to go and search for his father who had given him that name he hated and caused him pain in the only places he'd thought he'd be.

In Gatlinburg, during the month of July is where he finally found him. He had stopped in town looking for a quick drink ,but when he found an old saloon in a muddy street he found the man who named him Sue at a table dealing stud looking dirty like a dog.

He knew the man was his dad because he had seen him on an old picture his mom kept that showed his scar on his left cheek as well as his ¨evil"eye. He goes to then describe his dad as being old and bent looking gray-ish. Once the speaker saw him, his blood became cold and he told him "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die."

The speaker then proceeded to hit his father right between the eyes and his father fell down but came up with a knife and cut off a piece of the speakers ear. Then the speaker busted a chair right across his fathers teeth and they crashed through
the wall and into the street proceeding to fight
in the mud.
The speaker talk about fighting tougher men, but says his father seems pretty tough (kicking him like a mule). He then hears his father laughing and cussing. Then they both pulled out they're guns. His father then smiles and says, "Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong."
"Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue."
Which basically states that his father named him this because he wanted him to be strong. His father also says that he wouldn't blame him if he killed him right there because of how much he probably hates him.

At this point the speaker got all choked up and I threw down his gun and then called gis father pa while his pa called him son,giving the speaker a new view on life.

Now he thinks about his father now and then. He also goes on to say how if he ever has kids he will never name them Sue, Maybe some thing like Bill or George.

Big image

Bill or George- anything but Sue.

Shel SIlverstien

Shel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1930. Shel, in college was drafted into the wars in Japan and Korea. He had a wife and a child who both died after about 10 years due to medical illnesses. But, he was also married a woman named Sarah who was his inspiration for many of his poems later on before his death in 1999.

Situation and Structure

Because this poem ultimately tells a story, it can be classified as a narrative poem. It is also a free verse poem. The main events of the poem are the fact that his father left him as a child with the name of Sue. This name haunted him throughout his life and when he finally met his father he wanted to kill him but decided otherwise. He end the end says how he would never name his son, Sue.

This speaker is a man that is pretty bitter towards his unknown dad before he actually meets him. This story is somewhat biased due to the fact that the speaker is on one side of the conflict and the reader gets no point of view from the other characters.

The speakers tone is very rough and very bitter. The appropriate voice for reading would mostly be strong and regretting but in the end forgiving. Some of the words that show this resolve in the end include when the speakers father calls him son while the father calls the speaker pa which is a very comfortable way to address someone. Pa and son are usually ways to address someone you know for most of your life, which shows his forgiveness.

The poem is form in regular stanza form. The poem develops and emphasizes his relationship with his father as changing. The sentences in the poem are very simple but there are a lot of them. The poem moves from bitterness to a forgiving tone. The author also seems not to have a high education because of the way he structures sentences.

The title being that it is A Boy Named Sue does not seem too bitter, which means it was most likely showing the end result of him living with his name.

Language and Musical Devices

The speaker used a colloquial way of speaking using word like ¨honky tonk¨ which emphasized the fact that he was some one who had less of an education than the average person.Using words like ¨dirty¨ and ¨bent¨ to describe his father, the speaker seemed very mad at his father for his name. The use of figurative language like ¨thick skin¨ and ¨rough¨fists showed how The speaker had to get tougher to deal with the effects of his name. The rhyme scheme of the poem is musical,and regular using rhyming word like shame and name, red and head. His repetition of the word ¨Well¨ at the beginning of each stanza giving the poem a resolving, forgiving tone.


Overall, the poem has showed me a sense of forgiveness through all odds and how all things happen for a reason, like the speakers name can positively affect you in many ways.