The Facebook Sonnet by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is a contemporary American writer famous for critical style of writing with humor using. All his works evoke sadness and contemplations about modern life issues. In his poem The Facebook Sonnet he points out at the irony and satire even in the title, because it is not the Facebook’s ode, but stricture.

The poem is constructed by the imperative sentences but from the very beginning the readers are said between lines to do opposite what is agitated to. The author’s appeals ‘Welcome’, ‘Let’s’ evoke sound imagery, when the words ‘past lovers and friends,’ provide visual ones. The diction of the poem is built on the controversy and antithesis. Sherman encourages to the primitive ‘Let’s all play the games that preoccupy the young’ and immoral ‘Let one’s search for God become public domain’ actions to achieve the opposite result.

The sound patterns of assonance ‘undervalue and unmend’, ‘let’s exhume, resume and extend’, ‘fame and shame’; repetition ‘ become our church’, ‘let’s sign up, sign in’ and anaphora ‘let’, ‘welcome’ are found through the poem. Sherman also uses antonyms ‘kind and cruel’, ‘fame and shame’; epithet ‘ endless high-school’; metaphors ‘stage of life’, ‘the altar of loneliness’; hyperboles ‘let one’s search for God become public domain’, ‘endless reunion’; ambiguity ‘let’s exhume, resume and extend’; personification ‘the games that preoccupy the young’, theological terms ‘God, altar, church’; rhetorical question ‘Why can’t we pretend every stage of life is the same?’ and parallel constructions ‘Welcome to the endless high-school reunion. Welcome to past friends and lovers’, ‘Let fame and shame intertwine. Let one’s search for God become public domain.’

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In the poem, Sherman Alexie describes contemporary phenomenon of social networks and analyzes its role in the people’s lives. He invites the readers to ‘the endless high-school reunion’, such as forbidden schoolmates add each other as a friend on Facebook. One’s virtual friends are those with whom all relations are broken. There are ‘former lovers and friends’ and no matter how important they are in one’s life now, how good their real terms are. Matters only the fact of accepting everyone, one have ever seen or even the stranger, as a friend. In the social network everyone is appreciated, because it is so easy to change the reality through the screen hypocrisy and push ‘accept’ instead of long explanations. But what will these false friends say to each other in the real life?

The adults escape from everyday routine playing primitive on-line games and achieve no progress but regress in the self-development by backing at the beginning of their lives. People intertwine fame posting their photos and shame doing nothing important in their lives but watching the screen. People lay open their privacy and intimacy, thoughts, interests and vital life events for public inspection. There is nothing sacred even the church is replaced by the virtual one. But why do people do this? Because their are lonely, their have nothing to do and nowhere to go, no real people to care about so they fool themselves creating semblance of the friendship and support in the virtual world, which will never become reality.

Sherman Alexie metaphorically calls the most popular social network Facebook ‘the altar of loneliness’ in the last line of his poem, what at once makes his opinion clear for the readers. In the sonnet’s 14 lines he critically describes modern way of life in which everyone will find himself. The last two lines are culminating ‘Let’s sign up, sign in and confess

here at the altar of loneliness.’

After the poem’s reading the one will revalue his or hers life and actions and may be will be inspired to love his or her family with no less self-sacrificing than computer. The Facebook Sonnet leaves sadness feeling of the huge problem of the modern life realization, which comes through the author’s analysis of such innocent contemporary entertainment as social network and once again underlines that everything has its measures.


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