PosterĄG Valerie Chen at 13:0:55 11/13/97 from proxy.secc.fju.edu.tw
If we look at the way how the speaker tell the
poem, we might imagine him/her as a naughty child
playing a silly game with a friend: "I'm nobody!
Who are you?", and who gets very excited to have
someone on her side: "Then there's a pair of us!".
However, there were some strong words used in the
poem that are not usual to be used by children.
Thus the speaker must be probably a grown up but
with a childish manner. I think he must be a
lonely person who felt to be different from the
others (though he was glad to be so) and thirsted
for somebody like her, a companion: "Are you -
Nobody - too?". The 'they', meaning 'somebody',
must be the majority while 'nobody', were the
minority oppressed by the former who were afraid
being banished. Therefore, the speaker lived under
dread and pressure.
In the second stanza, the speaker seemed to be a
sophisticated person who was tired of the general
trend of people, and expressed his disgusts for
it.He sneered at them comparing them with foolish
croaking frogs whose audience were nothing but "an
The 'you' in the poem referred to us, the
readers. There was a fellowship between the
speaker and us, for he considered the reader as a
'nobody' like him and both conspired against
'them' (somebody). However, I think the speaker
was too careless. How was he to know 'you' was not
actually 'somebody' that might betray him? I think
his loneliness made him neglectful. He wanted a
companion with whom he could share and let his
I have two different interpretations for the
poem. Firstly, this being 'nobody' means to have
an individual character, while 'somebody' means to
imitate other people, in other words, doing what
everybody does, loosing the personal character.
When everybody does the same thing and acts in the
same way, there is no more individuality, because
one looses his personality that identifies himself
.Thus he needs to declare his existence all the
time to be approve by the others and, most of all,
by himself, just like what the speaker said:
"How public - like a Frog -
To tell your name - the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog."
As a manner of fact, we may say, this poor 'Frog'
has no self-confidence.
Another interpretation I have is about the
hypocrisy between people. The speaker identified
himself as nobody and he despised being somebody.
But in the last line of the first stanza, he said
to 'you': "Don't tell! They'd banish us - you know
!". How was he not to let them know about his real
identity? Did he disguise himself and pretend to
be one of 'them'? Or maybe 'you' was actually the
'somebody' who made himself 'nobody' when he was
with the speaker? As a result, the friendship
between them might not be true. Perhaps 'you'
didn't care at all what the speaker said, because
one is only concerned about himself. Consequently,
'sincere' doesn't exist between people.
I think this poem is quite confusing (or maybe
it's me who makes it confusing). I hope the
journal to be understandable because for me it
looks like a tongue twister.
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