Karl Malkoff: "The Flight" (from "The Lost Son")

THE FLIGHT. It is, in Roethke's words, "a terrified running away - with alternate periods of hallucinatory waiting . . . ; the protagonist . . . is hunting like a primitive, for some animistic suggestion, some clue to existence from the sub-human." Fishing in "an old wound," the repository of mental scars, the protagonist probes not only the private unconscious, but the "sub-human" of the collective unconscious as well. Roethke does not tell us the cause of this regressive flight, but the poem itself suggests a reason: the crying of the dead at Woodlawn. The father's ghost again threatens the lost son; and the end of this section of the poem suggests that it is specifically the boys masculinity that is being threatened.

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Criticism Overview
Title Karl Malkoff: "The Flight" (from "The Lost Son") Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Karl Malkoff Criticism Target Theodore Roethke
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 22 May 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Theodore Roethke: An Introduction to the Poetry
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