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Free «Analysis of the poem “Money”» Essay Sample


Chock it up…

It… feathers a nest…

…makes both ends meet.

Money breeds money.

… you put it where your mouth is.

…And it talks.

--- Dana Gioia


            It is said sometimes that money makes the world go round.  It can also be heard that money is a root of evil.  In addition, very often one can overhear that money breeds money… Dana Gioia’s famous poem “Money” is an excellent chance to prove all the opinions mentioned above: having much money is great; it is everywhere and without it the person is nobody.  However, there are such cases, when it does more harm than good.

Gioia uses Wallace Stevens’ quotation “Money is a kind of poetry” as an epigraph before starting his poem.  This quote sets the mood and the tone of the poem, which, in general, is sarcastic and cynical, though truly pedagogical.  It allows the reader to take a deeper look at and deeper insight into the real state of things around them.  It should be also mentioned that there is no syllabic rhythm in “Money”, though it does not influence much  the reader’s perception of this piece of writing.



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Trying to avoid clichés, the author uses a number of widely used expressions about money.  Firstly, it gives many literal, metaphorical, colloquial and other everyday vernacular names for money:

“Money, the long green,
cash, stash, rhino, jack
or just plain dough.”

All these nicknames have both connotative and denotative meanings.  Stash is another word for secret place.  Having much money is the connotative way of saying one has a stash.  Dough is a soft elastic mixture of flour and water and also a slang word which means cash or other financial assets.  Money is probably substituted here by dough because it has the ability to increase over the time just like the mixture of flour and water does.  The abundance of metaphors in the first stanza gives an immediate negative impression: it is everywhere, in everything and everything can be bought.

No matter who you are and no matter what you do, - chocking money up is the main objective of all human beings.  The author here wants the reader to ponder over the fact that money has already become the most important thing in people’s lives.  The author uses understatements in the poem to prove his point.  By “gathering interest, compounding daily” Gioia shows that it is going to be around as long as it is the most essential thing, no matter how much or little of it the person has. 

Dana Gioia continues with metonyms further, demonstrating how money has become ever-and-forever present in today’s society by listing:

“Greenbacks, double eagles,

megabucks and Ginnie Maes”

All of these things are used ironically as other nicknames for money.  Here, the author shows other financial assets: coins (“double eagles”), lottery (“megabucks”) and mortgages (“Ginnie Maes”). It is one more proof from Dana Gioia that money is everywhere around.

In the next stanza, by stating that money

“…greases the palm, feathers a nest,
holds heads above water,
makes both ends meet”,

the author shows that money is a driving force for everything in modern world.  Some people earn money to feed their children, others to pay for vacations or build their own house.  Everyone takes care of their own needs to survive.

Moreover, in addition to powerful metaphors, used in the first stanza, Dana Gioia uses striking personification by giving a human attributes to money: “Money breeds money”, in the end of the poem.  With that figure the author wanted to say that the money one already has, if used right, may bring even more money, which in its turn brings greed....  One can always gather interest to receive more money from others. 

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Money travels from one person to another, which makes it a very dirty thing, even though some people love it so much:

“Money.  You don't know where it's been,
but you put it where your mouth is.
And it talks.”

Money can talk in the sense that a rich person seems to have more power than a poor does.   This seems to be the slogan that modern cultures are driven by and as long as it holds true, - the motto will never change.   

As long as humans are able to earn and spend huge sums of these “cash, stash, rhino, or jack”, - people will get what they want and the show will go on.  The rich will get richer, the poor will stay poor and the middle class people will be dreaming of fortune.   It has been true for our fathers and it remains to be true for us.   And money… Money is still around us and, as Dana Gioia says, “always in circulation”…


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