Contend in a sea
The opening line of William Carlos Williams’s poem is an incomplete or broken syntactical unit. The subject of the sentence is contained in the title. It is “the yachts” that “contend.” Starting the poem in this way emphasizes the theme of the injustice, or brokenness, of the American class system discussed here in the competition or contest between these luxury boats and throughout, and also foreshadows the enjambment that breaks up the syntax elsewhere in the poem.
Black Thought of The Roots similarly emphasizes the way that social mobility in the US is broken in their song, “Stomp” from the album undun, which is about a poor black man struggling for survival. In “Stomp,” it is the last line that is an incomplete, or broken, statement, “We like…”. The main character, Redford, is unable to finish his sentence just as he is unable to achieve the promises of the American dream. Redford, though, is not a “yacht,” but one of the “greater and lesser crafts” described below: a member of the lower class.
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