“Schoolsville” by Billy Collins

In his frank and sincere poem “Schoolsville” Billy Collins focuses on his reminiscences about the past, thinking about the benefits of the job of a teacher. Billy Collins is known in literature as an artist who displays the reality with a sense of humor. However, despite the humorous motifs, the verse “Schoolsville” sounds a bit nostalgic. Probably the main character, who calls himself the major, is Billy Collins. The main theme of the poem is the revelations of the past; the idea of importance of memoirs is visible in every line. The writer recollects interesting episodes of teacher`s life in a humorous tone. The characters of his poem are somewhat stereotyped, for example, the student who always “had his hand up” is now “an alderman and owns the haberdashery” (Collins). Student's years leave indelible memories in the life of every person. Each student dwells in the memory of a teacher. The main character has taught so many students that he realizes that “the number of students is enough to populate a small town” (Collins).

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Collins reminds that the life of studentship consists of different episodes. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes sad, some are remembered, and some are forgotten. The writer recollects his students “reading disorganized essays out loud” (Collins). The main character is rather emotional than concentrated in describing the past. Looking back, Billy Collins hyperbolizes some traits of his students. The poet describes the girl who was obsessed with her appearance as “The girl who signed her papers in lipstick leans against the drugstore, smoking, brushing her hair like a machine” (Collins). The author exaggerates some moments and some of them sound hopelessly. Some author`s thoughts are quite absurd, as in the last stanzas: “Sometimes one will appear in a windowpane to watch me lecturing the wallpaper, quizzing the chandelier, reprimanding the air” (Collins).

Billy Collins created his own weird world with peculiar population, which is called “Schoolsville”. Among the citizens of this place are “the A's who stroll along with other A's, the D's honk whenever they pass another D” and “the creative-writing students recline on the courthouse lawn and play the lute” (Collins). This world, which is based on the dim recollections from his past, catches the reader's imagination skillfully.

Billy Collins breaks the stereotype that the teacher's work is very severe and serious. He describes his job in a mocking but very interesting way. Reading between the lines, it is clear that the author considers the teacher's work very important.

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In conclusion, it should be said that the poem demonstrates that the profession of the teacher cannot be temporary. The teacher chooses his way once for all. This is proven by the episode in which former students visit their professor after fifteen years.

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