An Analysis of the poem Two's Company.docx An Analysis of the poem Two's Company.docx
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Raymond Wilson: Two´s Company

They said the house was haunted , but
he laughed at them and said, ‚Tut, tut!
I never heard such tittle-tattle
as ghosts that groan and chains that rattle;
And just to prove I’m in the right,
please leave me here to spend the night.‘
They winked absurdly, tried to smother
their ignorant laughter, nudged each other,
and left him just as dusk was falling
with a hunchback moon and screech owls calling. —
Not that this troubled him one bit;
in fact, he was quite glad of it,
knowing it’s every sane man’s mission
to contradict all superstition.

But what is that?  Outside it seemed
as if chains rattled, someone screamed!
Come, come, it’s merely nerves, he’s certain
(but just the same, he draws the curtain).
The stroke of twelve — but there’s no clock!
He shuts the door and turns the lock
(of course he knows that no-one’s there,
but no harm’s done by taking care!);
someone’s outside — the silly joker,
(he may as well pick up the poker!)
That noise again!  He checks the doors,
shutters the windows, makes a pause
to seek the safest place to hide —
(the cupboard’s strong — he creeps inside).
‚Not that there’s anything to fear‘
he tells himself, when at his ear
a voice breathes softly, ‚How do you do!
I am the ghost.  Pray who are you?´

Biography of Raymond Wilson

Dr. Raymond Wilson is a well-known author who has written five books, including Ohiyesa: Charles Eastman, Santee Sioux. He is the editor of Natives Americans in the Twentieth Century and Indian Lives: Essays on Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Native American Leaders. Dr. Wilson has published over 50 essays, articles, or chapters in books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries and has published over 15 articles in professional journals. Additionally, he has more than 185 book reviews in scholarly journals and many presentations at scholarly conferences.

Dr. Wilson is Professor of History and former chair of the Department of History at Hays University, Kansas. He received the fourth President’s Distinguished Scholar Award. He joined the faculty in 1979. Dr. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Dr. Wilson, and his wife, call Hays home.

He is a member of several professional organizations and has been accorded numerous honors and awards. In 2002, he received the Fort Hays State University Pilot Award for outstanding teaching and is listed in the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership and in Who’s Who Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian.

As one of the most renowned authorities on the writings of Charles Eastman, Dr. Wilson wrote the foreword to The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa).

An Analysis of the poem “Two’s Company” 

The poem satirizes people who are 100 percent sure that there are no such things as ghosts. The persona in the poem is such a person. The humor comes from the contrast between what ‘he’ says at the bginning and what he says and does later.

Our ‘hero’ has decided to spend the night in a haunted house just to prove to his friends that there are no such things as ghosts. But as night falls, strange things happen which frighten him. The way he tries to convince himself that there are no ghosts, while at the same time taking care to protect himself is very funny:

                Come, come, it’s merely nerves, he’s certain

                (But just the same he draws the curtain.)

There are many instances of this which show that as night falls he gets more and more frightened; so much so, that he hides himself inside a cupboard:

                To seek the safest place to hide-

                (The cupboard’s strong – he creeps inside.)

Even then he tells himself that there is nothing to fear. But to his great shock, the ghost who was also ‘living’ inside the cupboard, speaks politely in his ear, introducing itself. The ghost’s polite tone evokes humor:

                ….How do you do?

                I am a ghost. Pray who are you?

This certainly contributes to the humor as normally we do not expect such politeness from a ghost.

The poet creates a frightening atmosphere that increases the tension and the fear in the mind of the persona in the poem.

                and left him just as dusk was falling
               with a hunchback moon and screech owls calling. —

But what is that?  Outside it seemed
as if chains rattled, someone screamed!

The comedy of the situation arises from the rising fear of  the self-assured protaganist who doesn’t believe in ghosts and his final encounter with the ghost whom he finds in the same cupboard he wanted to hide himself. The surprise also adds to the humor. The sub-title of the poem which says ‘The sad story of a man who didn’t believe in shosts’ is also humorous as it turns out to be a comedy in the end.

The use of the rhyming couplets give a quick movement to the poem in tune with the dramatic situation presented by the poet. It also highlights the comic quality of the poem. This poem also reminds me of another humours poem about ghosts called ‘Colonel Frazerkerly’ where the protagonist really outsmarts the ghost.