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Tony Hoagland's "Romantic Moment" -- personal response essay


mbiscoe25 3 / 8  
Mar 4, 2010   #1
I have not taken an English class since 1996. I defiantly feel a bit rusty. Below is a personal response essay to Tony Hoagland's "Romantic Moment" If anyone could look it over and provide any feedback and grammar correction I would be very grateful!

Tony Hoagland does an excellent job of conveying how warmth and laughter can relieve the tension of human interaction. I enjoyed how he describes an intelligent couple on their second date experiencing romantic tension until they share a comedic moment. I also feel Hoagland is passively describing the hierarchy within the couple's relationship.

The mood of the poem is set by the description of the setting. The setting creates an overall imagery of warmth by using such terms as, "the mock orange is fragrant in the summer light" and "smooth adobe walls glow fleshlike in the dark." As a reader I can almost smell the flower, see the light and feel the warmth. At the same time, romantic tension is created by the mention that the couple is only on their second date and are sitting, holding hands but not looking at each other. I have been on that date many times, the date where I spend half the time playing with my straw because I am too nervous to talk. The explanation of the couple viewing a documentary and walking though an art district to me symbolizes they have an intellectual connection has well as romantic. I feel this way because my typical date is dinner and a movie. I would be shocked to have someone watch a documentary or take a walk with me.

The male character in the poem is thinking about how he should break the silence. I found it hysterical he was making comparisons to himself of how the males and females of different species interact. I belly laughed when Hoagland states "if I were a peacock I'd flex my gluteal muscles to erect and spread the quill of my cinemax tail." The female character then speaks about the exact same topic the male character is thinking. The fact the female character states exactly what the male character is thinking also supports my theory that the couple has a more intellectual connection than most. The people I am most connected to can finish my sentences. I wonder if the documentary the couple viewed was on mating rituals in nature. I feel Hoagland used the comedic comparison of how in nature romantic tension doesn't exist breaks the tension through laughter perfectly.

I get the slight impression the female character is the more aggressive of the two. She is the first to break the couple's silence. The couple leaves the scene on her suggestion. She also suggests what activity the couple should do next. Which was a bit of a surprise to me, I certainly was expecting the male to simply ask if she was ready to leave. Additionally, in all of the nature references the female of the species' act is largely more aggressive than the males. Hoagland again does a wonderful job of softly implying the symbolism.

This poem is an account of something we can all relate to. We have all been in a new romance on a warm evening. We have all experienced the feeling of tension about what to do and not knowing what to say. We have all had that moment where comedy breaks the tension and commutation begins. Additionally, we all struggle to find where we fit into our relationships. Hoagland found a fresh and entertaining way to describe these common situations and feelings.
megha 7 / 13  
Mar 5, 2010   #2
I like the way you presented. Your English is good and the essay conveyed the fiction properly. This much I can help you.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 6, 2010   #3
Here is a way to make the sentence less awkward:
...though an art district implies to me symbolizes they have an intellectual they have a connection that is intellectual as well as romantic.

There is a problem with "I belly laughed when Hoagland states" because of an awkward verb tense mixup. It is good for you to use the present tense about what Hoaglang states or writes, but you should rephrase:

I belly laughed when I arrived at the passage where Hoagland states, "If I were a peacock I'd flex...

I feel this way because my typical date is dinner and a movie. I would be shocked to have someone watch a documentary or take a walk with me.--- what does this have to do with the thesis statement? I think you should add another sentence to the end of your first paragraph -- an unmistakable thesis statement that is related to the other sentences of the first paragraph but that ALSO is general enough to include the content of this paragraph.

Is hierarchy what you really mean? I hierarchy involves more than 2 people. Work on that thesis statement at the end of the first para. Also, take advice from me, another person who had to return to writing after some time away from school: Always write the thesis statement last, after the whole essay has formed. It's a trick they never taught us as kids! :-)
OP mbiscoe25 3 / 8  
Mar 28, 2010   #4
Thank you very much for your reply!


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