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Humdrumness Continued Throughout The Poem

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Discuss About The Humdrumness Continued Throughout The Poem?




Alice Rose George who is a photography editor of Granta writes the poem, ‘A Humdrum Life’. She is also a curator. Her poems have emerged in The Paris review and the New England Review. ‘A Humdrum of Life’ is about a cow’s life that has been alienated from its rural context and come to the street to work.

The aim this essay is to analyze the main theme of the poem, which is alienation. The alienation has been accounting to a cow when it accepted a work offer. The cow has to work on the street. It has come from the village. The essay will also demonstrate the other elements presented in the poem, like symbolism, metaphor, conflict, tone, imagery to support its main theme.


The central theme of the poem is alienation. Alienation is a state when one feels of being isolated from something. In this poem, a cow’s perspective has been described. The poem is stating a cow’s point of view. The poem has been started with, ‘I am a white cow with horns’ ( The cow is stating its bodily features. It is white cow. It has horns but it has no outer vision. It is the cow’s claim. However, it has so big and round eyes that it can see from inside to outside of something. The poet has described beautifully the cow’s features through the cow’s eyes. The first eleven lines are the beautification of the cow. The poet has sated, ‘I am a white cow with horns/ but no peripheral vision, / full face you would think / I could see inside and out / my eyes are so big and round. / My nails click on cement in / a different music from bells / of herds in the Pyrenees / which sound like Tibetan / states of mind rather than / these incongruences’ (

The next seven lines are the cow’s allegation towards the society. The sadness has been expressed in these lines. The cow is used as a joke. People crack jokes in the name of cow. However, it is an important domestic animal and gives us milk, but the society abuses cow for its milk. No one care for its calf as the milk is primarily for the calf. The society sucks most of its milk for their own selfish purpose. The cow is repenting, as it has no family or friend to console. It can only trust and depend on the farmer. The cow is seeking a farmer who never exists. This is also a repenting tone of the cow. There is no farmer friend for the cow who would take it ‘into his sweet growing pastures’ ( At the beginning of the poem, the cow has demonstrated its beauty and after that, it has repented, as it has no one in the society. management, the society pulls all its necessary things from the cow. Therefore, the cow is feeling isolated or alienated from the society and has accepted a job offer where it has to go to the street and there is no need to proof itself: ‘Here I do not have to know / how I stand out in the crowd, / blind as it is to me’ (

The poet, Alice Rose George has described human life in the metaphor of a cow. A human life is as important as a cow’s life in our society. However, a human being can feel alienated from its surroundings and find relief in the crowd where he has no need to proof himself. The statement has reflected the tone of alienation, which is present in the poem, which is that ultimately, the cow has to accept ‘an offer to work on the street’ ( This could be any human being’s condition. He could feel the same as the cow has felt. However, the sense of alienation did not removed when the cow is in the street. The line from the poem has proven that, ‘my hide does not improve’ ( From this it can be said that the feeling of alienation might not be  removed when someone is hiding himself in the crowd.

A conflictive tone is present throughout the poem. The poem, ‘A Humdrum of Life’ is representation of conflict between beauty and sadness. The beauty is stated from the cow’s point of view. The cow itself is stating that it is a white beautiful cow with big and round eyes. The clicking sound of nails on the cement produces a different kind of music, which is similar to the Tibetan states of mind. Here, the poet has used imagery. She has compared the sound with the image or sense of Tibetan states of mind. A sad tone has been reflected in the next section of the poem. The cow stated that he has been exploited for its milk. The cow does not have any family or friend. It is as alienated or isolated as like anything. The conflict between the beauty and sadness has been matured at the second half of the poem. The conflict has been resolved at this part where the cow has decided that he would accept an offer letter of work on the street. Though the conflict has been resolved, the sad tone has been continued until the end. The cow is very close to nature. it is the nature’s part. The human society may exploit it for them; however, the nature is still giving its best to the cow. The trees stand in between or above the cow’s head for provide it shadow.

A number of imagery has been used in this poem. The poet has used the imagery of ‘herds in the Pyrenees’ to reflect the clicking sound of the nails of the cow on the cement. The Pyrenees is a range of mountain in Southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain. The clicking sound has reminded the cow about the ‘bells of herds in the Pyrenees’ ( However, the cow has been related more with the Tibetan state of mind, which is another beautiful imagery used by the poet.  



‘A Humdrum of Life’ is a poem, which tells a story of cow and its sadness, beauty and sense of isolation. The cow is very important animal in our life. However, we do not care for cow’s safety and security. We never think from the cow’s point of view. The humdrumness was present in the cow’s life when it had not come on the street for work. This humdrumness psychology continued throughout the poem as well as in the cow’s life. The humdrumness of life has been finalized when the cow is under a tree for receiving shadows from it. Now, it is ultimately enjoying the humdrumness of life in its own way.


Reference "A Humdrum Life - 94.03." business-law, 2017,


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