Mark Doty’s Souls on Ice: Individuality and Commonness

5 May 2017

Souls on Ice Individuality and commonness are but one of two things. Although, these two are expressed in different ways, so Mark Doty implies in his essay and poem “Souls on Ice”. The essay can be seen as the progression of Doty’s epiphany about himself as a person, which is idealistically described in his poem. Doty begins his essay by recounting a time in a Stop ‘N Shop in which he was star struck by the beauty and luminosity of a stack of mackerels.

Metaphors are used to describe the event and are also claimed to be what makes us as an individual person. Upon Doty’s gaze at the ackerels, metaphors served as his thinking which he knew were unique and his very own. Moreover, descriptions formulated about the fishes brought Doty to the realization of what he perceives reflects his own psychic state, but can easily be mistaken for “neutral” thinking. Soul, heaven” were put in the poem for the sole purpose of yielding depth. These two words engaged Doty to argue whether or not he, or you, could lose oneself “entirely in the universe / of shimmer”. Now, it is important to note that he did not distinguish between each mackerel, but instead saw them as a whole, hence why he questions what it means to be a self. After realizing the poem’s “subject-beneath-the-subject”, it is then he decides what it means to be a self.

Mark Doty’s Souls on Ice: Individuality and Commonness Essay Example

Doty explains how even though the mackerels were dead; they still seemed to live on through the very essence they gave off as a whole. Thus, stating that the moral of the essay and story are “the limits of “me” are our hardest lesson”, but the idea of commonness is nonetheless consoling to his death. For our glory is not our individuality but our commonness. Doty did not like the idea and message behind this, but still embraced it, for our world is too complicated to settle only with one’s self.

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