We Were Simply Talking

By describing an almost fatal car accident and using universal symbols of a happy life in “We Were Simply Talking”, Andrew Hudgins focuses our attention on the simplicity and beauty of life in spite of the pessimism. Despite the fact that this poem is sort of tragic, it has a jocular, appreciative tone. The author extenuates an existentialist view during a near death experience by showing symbols that are interchangeable and important in life. This is shown in the line “I saw my wife and was overjoyed that I had married her” (7). Hudgins also uses seemingly insignificant images to support the idea that life is not to be taken for granted because anything can happen at any moment in time. The man appreciates simple, plain things like “a brown Toyota” (9). Hudgins also emphasizes the appreciation the man had for living a relatively safe life. This is presented in the lines “loved/ being warm in the car while it was white, cold, bitter/ out in the world we’d lost control of” (9-11). The basic human right of feeling safe and secure is idolized. Hudgins accentuates the numerous sins and failures that are often present in a typical life. The man in the poem would have rather lived his life and sinned or failed, than to never have lived at all. This idea is represented by the lines “for the moment I forgave myself every sin/ and failure of my life, including this/ ridiculous and undignified death” (13-15). Hudgins raises the question of why life is taken for granted and underappreciated. He urges us to focus on the fruits of life because sometimes we can become consumed in the negativity, which prompts us to take an existentialist view.


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