Summary and Analysis of Marina by Charles Bukowski

About the Poet:

Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920- March, 1994) was a German poet born in America. He was not only a poet but also a novelist, and a short story writer. His writing was greatly influenced by the social, cultural and economic environment of his home city in Los Angeles. His poems would largely include themes of the poor lives of the American rural classes, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. His work is described by many as that of a realist with dark tones to his poems and a sense of escapism, alienation, depression, and loneliness.

Introduction to Marina:

Marina is a poem written by Bukowski about his daughter who was named Marina. In this poem, he describes her in different aspects- what she means to him and what she signifies in his life even till her responses. This poem is one that brings warmth and love to the heart after listening to Bukowski list the features and depictions that he sees of his loving daughter Marina.

Setting of Marina:

The poem merely beings with features that Bukowski identifies with Marina. He calls her “majestic, magic” and “infinite”, comparing her to the sun. Bukowski is amazed at how Marina “only sees love” when she looks at him despite the wounded warrior that he believes himself to be. Her actions are so loving to him that he is compelled to give out the love that he receives from her heart.

Poetic Devices in Marina:

Alliterations:
Line 1: “majestic, magic”
Simile:
Line 18 and 19: “just like I was meant
                              To do.”
Personification/ Metaphor:
Line 3 and 4: “my little girl is
                           Sun”
Line 8 and 9: “an old man,
                           Battle-wrecked.”
Symbolism:
The phrase “my little girl is sun” denotes his daughter being the sun in his life. The lines “an old man, battle-wrecked, emerges from the chair” is the symbolism of himself to being a wounded soldier who has suffered many battles against people and also against himself. The line “and love right back” symbolises his obligation to give out the love that his daughter showers upon him.

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Summary of Marina:

Marina is a loving poem about the relationship of Charles Bukowski and his daughter Marina who is the figure of love and energy in his life. She is described to constitute the brightness of the sun and believed to be the epitome of infinite magic. Bukowski considers her to be the only figure to look at the battle-wrecked soldier that he is and yet see an image of love. It is her capability of loving the beauty in people that reflects onto Bukowski who is obligated to give back the love that he receives from his daughter.

Critical Analysis of Marina:

This poem is a rare find for Bukowski’s writing where he indulges his reader in the notion of love and joy, refraining from his more often used subjects of darkness and sorrow. Bukowski writing such a poem, would probably had the intention of reminding his readers of the presence of a loving individual in his life that is capable of excavating love that was long lost inside his soul. His poem asks of the readers to reflect onto their lives and recollect the memories of that one individual that has always seen and given out love. He asks his readers to keep such individuals close to them and be thankful for their presence. Giving out the love that they receive from these people is what he considers to be a major step into creating the difference in other people’s lives.

Central Idea of Marina:

The poem revolves around Marina, who is Charles Bukowski’s daughter. He dedicates this poem into dictating Marina’s innocence and loving vision of seeing the good in others that makes him associate her with the magical and infinite sun. He is thankful to her soul who only sees the love in a wounded being such as him and he feels obligated to give the love that he has received from Marina back out into the world. He dictates the actions of her kindness throughout the poem.

Tone of Marina:

The poem begins with Bukowski narrating how his daughter is the embodiment of the majestic and magical power of the sun. He describes her innocence as she picks up a flower off the carpet and her vision of love within her that’s sees through the heart of the cold wrecked man that he really is. He later speaks of how he feels obligated to go out into the world and give out the love that Marina showers upon his soul.

Conclusion:

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Charles Bukowski, unlike most of his poems about the darker aspects of life, speaks of the loving daughter that is an active part of his life. He wants his readers to be aware of the loving figures in their lives like his daughter whom they should be grateful for. He even asks of his readers to pay the love forward as an obligation to all the affection that they are being gifted with by this special someone.
Contributor: Deeksha Honawar