Analysis of “Requiem for Used Ignition Cap”

For my March poetry blog I decided to choose the poem “Requiem for Used Ignition Cap” by J. Scott Brownlee. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and studying Brownlee’s poetry and this one did not disappoint. The poem is in remembrance of those souls who have lost their lives to suicide, and even though this poem was published in November 2015 it is very current and expresses a sensitive topic that is, sadly, happening frequently. According to studies, suicide is the third leading cause of death in people ages 15-24, and a youth suicide occurs every one hundred minutes. Brownlee’s poem address’ the grief and struggles that accompany this sensitive topic.

The poem begins with “Give God no dead with their brains busted out.” This sentence is ultimately very gory and strong, and it is exactly the opposite of what people strive for in life. Brownlee is explaining how people should not end their life and go to God in such a horrific way because they commited suicide. The following stanza explains how many people like to assume that a suicide was an accident for their own grief and emotional comfort. All families grieve after the loss of a loved one, and Brownlee describes the grief after suicide as “the pain unloading.” The word “unloading” could represent the pain, as previously stated, or the way the shotgun unloads. The meaningful diction represents the harsh reality of all people involved with suicide.

He continues to talk about how people on the outside don’t know how to comfort the grieving family and friends so they simply say “there, there.” Also, how family members “cannot be blameless” which is a significant sign of the grieving process because being blameless means to be innocent, and family members always feel like there is something more they could have done.

The final stanzas of the poem symbolize the want and need to bring the boy back into the lives of his loved ones. The depression and weakness of this poem is so strong. Families are grieving, and there is nothing left to do. Suicide is a depressing situation that no one should experience, and people are sharing their stories and spreading their love to show the world that they are not alone.

Suicide is a rapid problem in today’s society, and people everywhere are reaching out to spread awareness. Celebrities and everyday people and spreading the word and sharing their love and passion through music, speeches, and articles to make the world a better place and hopefully decrease the number of suicides.

2 thoughts on “Analysis of “Requiem for Used Ignition Cap”

  1. Hi Zoey. Thank you for sharing this poem and your analysis. The link that you posted to it didn’t work and I unfortunately couldn’t find it online, so I could only read the quotes that you included in your analysis, but it sounds like a great poem. I agree with you that suicide is a very important and sensitive topic since so many people have sadly lost their lives from it. I was initially shocked by the goriness of the first line but I think since suicide is such an emotional topic, it’s fitting. I like that you identified in the second stanza that people have trouble comforting a grieving person after a suicide. It’s always difficult to comfort grieving people, especially after a suicide since they may blame themselves. Your analysis was really good and thank you for sharing.

  2. I agree completely that this poem touches on a sensitive but relevant subject. Your analysis of the pain “unloading” is a great symbol for the grief felt by families. The poet does a great job of portraying the message about the brutal pain of depression and those affected by illustrating the gory and harsh truth of situations like this. This is a hard subject to analyze, good job!

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