Grass On The Riverbank Never Dies: An Interpretation Of 'Wild Grass On The Riverbank'

Grass On The Riverbank Never Dies: An Interpretation Of 'Wild Grass On The Riverbank'

People have the ability to learn from their experiences and further grow themselves as unique individuals just as plants can overcome obstacles of their own.
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"Wild Grass on the Riverbank" by Hiromi Ito is a poem that highlights the experiences of a young girl who travels to a new place called the Wastelands to visit her father. Her differences from the natives in the area are apparent, and she is marginalized for not being like everyone else. In spite of the problems she faces, she keeps going, pursuing the course. She concludes that people like herself can bloom into someone new and begin a fresh start despite past hardships. Ito successfully uses repetition, comparisons to nature, personification and a burdened, yet enlightened tone to effectively prove how obstacles can be overcome in light of troublesome circumstances. Here is my interpretation of the poem.

Firstly, by implementing the repetition of phrases and sentences throughout the poem, Ito gives the poem's lines more effect. The repetition helps to emphasize the connection that Ito creates between man and nature. By frequently claiming, “The ground was covered, blooms spread across the earth” (line 92) three times, Ito makes the reader reread that particular line and better engrave the image into his or her mind. The blooms spreading over the face of the earth and expanding their reach are a sign of new life that was not always abundant there. This can be attributed to the speaker and the situation that she and the other immigrants are in. For the many people travelling to the Wastelands, they have the opportunity to start anew. The very lines written in the poem are repetitive, continuous and abundant because they are a reflection of the blooms covering the earth, meaning the syntax used also furthers the meaning of the stanza. Ito also used repetition as a means of accentuating hope within dark times, demonstrated by the way the author repeated phrases and lines that were primarily optimistic in tone, in contrast to some of the other unhappier lines.

By the end of the poem, the speaker comes to the realization that life will carry on no matter the difficulties she and people like her may face, as “living is more commonplace than dying for plants” (Ito 94) because they have the capacity to grow through rain or sunshine; good times and bad times. The endurance of the speaker in trying times is established through the adaptability of the plants that represent man. The metaphorical relationship between plants and people continues to be reinforced as the poem goes on. The speaker compares herself and others to plant life with the intent of having nature represent strength and rebirth, thus attributing that same characteristic to man. Because Ito is consistently making this contrast in various stanzas, it becomes clear that there is an underlying theme of enlightenment due to the way the author stresses how, like the plants, humans are able to undergo change or persecution and still overcome the issues that they once had to deal with.

This idea is further established and proven by the speaker’s use of positive diction in the final stanza. In addition, the speaker manages to persevere through the “...piles of dried up corpses...” (line 90) found in new places as she immigrates to the wastelands where people like her are expected to give up their culture. She is also pressured to conform to the norms of the new place she travels to. This can be seen when she first reaches the Wastelands and is expected to be silent and leave behind her old language which is a major part of who she is. This emphasizes that she is different and unwelcomed because there, such differences are not to be embraced. Instead, people such as herself are told to “...shut their mouth...” (Ito 90) and return to where it is they came from. This adds to the list of burdens the speaker experiences, which influence her ultimate understanding of the idea that she can continue to surpass such obstacles and prosper just as nature continues to bloom and grow continuously. These events help her to reach this conclusion, rather than tearing her down. By maintaining this theme, the poem takes on a more positive deeper meaning, despite the unfortunate instances on the surface that the speaker faces.

Because of the continuous comparisons being drawn between greenery and people, plants are personified within the poem. They are given the ability to speak and think in order to portray the words and action of the other immigrants that the speaker is amongst. She is able to “...[hear] the different types of grass on the riverbank whisper...” (line 89) as they speak of the trials and misfortunes they have gone through after the fires. The grass is personified as the earth itself speaking up about the situation which works to show how different aspects of nature can be closely attributed to humans and the society they live in as well. The grass discuss with each other like people would in order to convey their resemblance.

The speaker finds hope in the fact that after such difficulties she is still “wearing the open flowers and withered flowers upon [her] body” and “continued to grow stems” (Ito 96). Her withering flowers are meant to depict past hardships or scars, resulting in a battered soul. But in spite of such, she still proceeds to grow stronger each day. This is the burden she overcame and what helps to demonstrate the optimism weaved throughout the lines of the poem. By including diction such as “flowers” and “grow,” the poem takes on a sanguine tone that has the purpose of creating a more high-spirited situation in contrast to the bad experiences of the speaker. One of Ito’s main purposes with the poem is to convey the ways in which struggles are something that do not last forever because like the grass on a riverbank after a fire, people can start over, turn a new leaf and grow with a fresh start and a new beginning.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important

"Literature Is One Of The Most Interesting And Significant Expressions Of Humanity." -P. T. Barnum
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Today, there are too many people who believe that literature is simply not important or underestimate its abilities to stand the test of time and give us great knowledge. There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life, and that one who is more passionate toward literature and other art forms will be destined to a life of low-paying jobs and unsatisfying careers. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is insignificant. To me, however, literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the world. Here are just a few reasons why literature is important.

1. Expanding horizons

First and foremost, literature opens our eyes and makes us see more than just what the front door shows. It helps us realize the wide world outside, surrounding us. With this, we begin to learn, ask questions, and build our intuitions and instincts. We expand our minds.

2. Building critical thinking skills

Many of us learn what critical thinking is in our language arts classes. When we read, we learn to look between the lines. We are taught to find symbols, make connections, find themes, learn about characters. Reading expands these skills, and we begin to look at a sentence with a larger sense of detail and depth and realize the importance of hidden meanings so that we may come to a conclusion.

3. A leap into the past

History and literature are entwined with each other. History is not just about power struggles, wars, names, and dates. It is about people who are products of their time, with their own lives. Today the world is nothing like it was in the 15th century; people have changed largely. Without literature, we would not know about our past, our families, the people who came before and walked on the same ground as us.

4. Appreciation for other cultures and beliefs

Reading about history, anthropology, or religious studies provides a method of learning about cultures and beliefs other than our own. It allows you to understand and experience these other systems of living and other worlds. We get a view of the inside looking out, a personal view and insight into the minds and reasoning of someone else. We can learn, understand, and appreciate it.

5. Better writing skills

When you open a book, when your eyes read the words and you take in its contents, do you ask yourself: How did this person imagine and write this? Well, many of those authors, poets, or playwrights used literature to expand their writing.

6. Addressing humanity

All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection. We learn that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring. We learn that life must be lived to the fullest. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity.

Literature is important and necessary. It provides growth, strengthens our minds and gives us the ability to think outside the box.

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I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.

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One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.


In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.


Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.


After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.


Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.


Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?



The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.



The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.



Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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