The Facebook Sonnet
Over many years there has been a heated world debate on the effects of Facebook. Most people probably will agree that Facebook is one of the best ways family, friends and relatives unite irrespective of the distance. Facebook has also played a significant role in the marketing advertising of goods and services. Together with that, People with common interests have even had the chance to share ideas and help each other to develop through Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook has turned out to have a negative influence on its users. Sherman Alexie approves that Facebook has affected the world in different ways. It is only through the traditional analysis of the poem ‘The Facebook Sonnet’ that we can be able to understand the objective of the poem, the structure of the poem and the poet.
First, the poem intends to let people reflect on how social media especially Facebook has swayed people. According to Sherman Facebook has some shortcomings including; making people feel lonely, esteem issues, the decline of moral and religious values (Mays and Kelly 89). To start with Facebook unites people as indicated in the first stanza ‘welcome to the endless high-school reunion’. Masses have found themselves glued to online and they forget to appreciate the face to face relationships and experiences (Rainwater and Catherine 315). The same platform makes people feel some emptiness as indicated in the last line ‘here at the altar of loneliness.’ when people desire to have a lifestyle which they cannot attain they become lonely. It also unconsciously creates the feeling of comparing others unfavorably with one-self bringing about low self-esteem.
To add on lowering esteem and bringing loneliness facebook impacts on the moral and religious values of individuals. Sherman in the second stanza the first line says ‘the present. Why can’t we pretend’? There is a lot of pretenses that goes around Facebook; some persons lie about their lives, education, places they stay and even their names (Brien and Geoffrey 166).Alexie does not consider Facebook friends as real friends in the first stanza he writes ‘welcome friends and lovers, however kind or cruel’ most of the people on Facebook are not friends in reality. Sherman despises the digital the kind of religion. He has emphasized on this issue by repeating the word church ‘For God to become public domain/Let church.com become our church.’ He thinks people have opted to avoid going physically to church they just get the Godly messages through the internet.
Through the traditional study of the poem, we can understand the structure of the song. The poem is an Elizabethan sonnet. It has fourteen lines with three quatrains and a rhyming couplet (Kusch and Celena 49). This structure of the song enables the reader to understand the meaning of the verse. This poetry has different techniques and stylistic devices. Rhyme has been used to add to the fluidity of the composition. The external rhyme scheme in words such as ‘pretend’ and ‘extend’ in the second stanza while words like ‘confess’ and ‘loneliness’ form a rhyme scheme. Rhyme scheme also makes the poem more interesting to read and also memorable (Rainwater and Catherine 314). Through the use of the slant rhyme in words like ‘fame’ and ‘domain’ ‘pretend’ and ‘extend’ ‘same and games’ also he shows his disrespect for Facebook enough to make the words jingle. Repetition has also been used in the structure of the poem in the last paragraph the first line ‘sign up, sign in’ sign has been repeated to emphasize the message that people are joining and using Facebook. The word ‘church’ has also been emphasized to show that the bard recognizes the presence of religion. The use of sarcasm is also evident in the poem to show his hate. Alexie uses a figurative language by comparing the use of social networks to playing children’s games he talks about people exhuming, resuming and extending their memories. Children are assumed to doing things out of ignorance; it implies that through using the social networks childish behavior exhibited. He has used rhetorical questions also to demean further the social media; he asks why we should we not pretend every stage of life is the same. This issue implies that people wish that every step of life is the same. He talks about how using internet affects our thinking making us want to be young for the rest of our lives. All these devices demonstrate the attitude of the writer to social media.
The tone used in the poem is sarcastic and sad. It sarcastically talks about the people on Facebook intertwining fame and shame in the seventh sentence ‘let fame/ and shame intertwine.’in Normal circumstances fame and shame cannot be placed together (Mays and Kelly 102). Also in the sixth sentence, the writer says ‘Let us play the games / that occupy the young.’ He thinks that social media takes a lot of time and the things that happen there are childish. In the end, he finishes on a sarcastic tone by saying Facebook is an altar of loneliness. It’s considered an altar because people visit it religiously to check how many people liked their profile pictures, the number of friends they have, the number of comments they have on their posts and their friends too. However much Alexie thinks Facebook brings people together he criticizes it furiously.
Sherman Alexie is a poet who uses humor and sarcasm to express the struggles of contemporary Indian on reservations. He has been able to write many books a, poems, made films and short stories. In most of the poems, movies and stories Alexie irradiates despair, alcoholism, and despair.(Hernández and Zachary). He is writing the poem “Facebook” in this era of the internet to agonize with the effects of social media on people.
It is only through the traditional analysis of the poem ‘The Facebook Sonnet’ that we can be able to understand the objective of the poem, the structure of the poem and the poet. Nearly five hundred thousand people have a Facebook account in the whole world, think of the amount of time they waste as they try to keep themselves busy with Facebook. Probably there is a need for the administrators of Facebook to control and put measures for the use of Facebook. It is not only Facebook that we should reconsider; social networks, in general, should not take away our minds and energy.