Short Analysis of John Berryman’s The Ball Poem

The Ball Poem has been written by John Berryman. It is about a young boy who has lost his ball.

The boy was playing with the ball when it bounced down the street into the sea. The poet says that the ball was very dear to the boy. He never considered the possibility that he might lose his ball. Now that he has lost it, he is grief-stricken. He realizes that it was his responsibility to keep the ball safe and he has failed in his duty. He also realises that things will get lost from time to time and money simply cannot replace them. As the little boy learns these lessons, he is growing up. The poet says that he is learning the harsh realities of life and in the process, he is losing his innocence.

The poem has a deeper meaning also. The boy’s ball personifies his young and happy days and his innocent. In this world, people will take a waiver innocence and forces to grow up. And once we lose this innocence, we can never get it back. This poem goes to show how, all throughout our life, we will be forced to do things that we don’t want to do; and we will lose or have to give up the things that we love.

The poem conveys the message that as we grow up we lose our innocence. The poet says that this innocence is quite precious as we can never get it back after we have lost it. However, we have to learn to accept it and get on with life.

Poetic Devices

Symbolism: The ball is a symbol of the boy’s young and innocent days.

Repetition: What, what Balls, balls


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