A reading of linda pastan’s

A Reading of Linda Pastan’s “ Pass/Fail” Often poems can be hard to read and confusing. Linda Pastan’s poem “ Pass/Fail” is pretty easy to understand but it also has deep meaning. This poem can be seen as representing test anxiety and also other anxiety you have as you go through life making decisions. The effect the writer is trying to achieve is that overcoming anxieties can be hard but if you do not accept reality you will never succeed. It seems as if the writer is saying you can not achieve your dreams if you are expecting to fail. It seems as if the writer may be trying to overcome her own personal anxieties. In the first few stanzas of the poem Pastan says, “ you will never graduate from this dream of blue books. (847)” It seems as if she is trying to say that she is depressed and feels like she is set up for failure on every test she is given. No matter how hard a person can try to succeed their fears and anxieties can often get in their way and they fail. Anxiety is something that is hard to deal with and is often a big distraction in accomplishing dreams. Pastan uses the choice of words such as “ blue books” to represent a test; however, her choice of words can be interpreted for deeper meaning to mean other things in life. “ the dream beckons with two dull pencils, but you haven’t even taken the course; when Lombas 2 you reach for a book– it closes its door in your face; (847)” These lines also represent something greater. The two dull pencils can be seen as two paths of the road you may be given to choose. However, if you choose the wrong path it comes back to slap you in face. “ it closes its door in your face; (847)” can mean that the anxiety from taking the test makes a person feel as if they do not have any other options and that they feel as if they were meant to fail and never succeed. It seems that Pastan is saying that anxiety can take over your dreams and paths you choose in life and can often cause a person to just give up. In the last lines, “ now the pillow becomes a blank page. turn it to the cool side; you will still mother in all of the feathers and have to be learned by heart. (847)” Pastan is saying that anyone can achieve a second chance to redo something, but if you do not know it by heart you will just fail again. Here the poem is also reminding us that life often has many test some that we will succeed in and some that we will fail in. If you expect yourself to achieve something too hard you are just setting yourself up to fail. It is important to make realistic goals and to overcome our anxieties. Often we are given choices in life that are important and some that are not so important. It is important to focus on the real problems and not to worry about the small things. If we worry about the small things we often lose focus on what we are really trying to accomplish. Often anxieties are caused by worrying about the small things, then they turn into big things because we stress so much about them. Pastan reminds us through her poem that real difficulties can be overcome by starting with a “ blank page”. Pastan’s awareness of her anxieties helps us to realize Lombas 3 our own struggles. The break in the poem seems to represent her change in attitude. From worrying about small things to starting fresh and focusing on what is important. If we fall down we must get back up and try again.