Analysis of the Poem "Atrophy" by Julia Copus

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Living a life with meaning is a goal shared amongst many individual’s. No one has quite figured out a single solution in how to accomplish this, however we are all seeking a way. Many factors contribute to a meaningful life, and influence our state of mind. In the poem “Atrophy”, Julia Copus portrays that from the time we are born, we all share something in common, yet there is so much more that makes up who we are. Every individual has the full potential to live a life filled with purpose and meaning, ultimately determined by the decisions that they make throughout life. We are given many opportunities that we can take advantage of in order to achieve this.

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We all begin our lives similarly, our skin and cells and vital organs are a lattice-work of small vibrations, a web of sounds or notes which correspond with all the other music that goes on” however there is so much more that makes us each unique. Part of who we are comes from our cells and DNA, generations from the past, while part of who we become is influenced by the experiences we live. We can lose our ability to find a life with meaning depending on both our actions and attitude towards situations. Copus states “our purplish hearts have stiffened and our limbs that once gleamed with infinite possible gestures.” You can see this quality in children since they are unfamiliar with life’s disappointments. In order to have purpose in our lives, we have to seek the beauty in life, and accept the circumstances that occur.

We are all capable of creating a life with meaning, continuously learning and adapting to our surroundings, and seeking the best life has to offer. Although we do not have control over surrounding circumstances, we can control our attitude and outlook towards them. Instead of blaming negative impacts on our surrounding life, we need to take responsibility. An individual must surround themselves with positive influences and have a positive mindset towards circumstances to create a life with meaning. They must also accept occurring circumstances and learn how to cope with them. Throughout junior high, I felt very lost, and I lacked self-esteem. I took everything personally because I cared too much about what others thought about me. During that time, my identity was shaped by others, instead of coming from within. I also failed to look at situations with a positive mindset, which made it a struggle to find a true purpose. Once I began to prioritize time spent with my family and friends, I was able to develop a sense of purpose. I also started to understand the meaning in my suffering, and enjoyed all the simple things life has to offer. I overcame circumstances by accepting them, and learning from them. We are ultimately responsible for our own creation of a meaningful life.

In the poem “Atrophy”, Copus demonstrates the negativity that arises when an individual fails to surround their life with music, which represents meaning.

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