World Poetry Criticism
WORLD POETRY CRITICISM
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World Poetry Criticism, critical essays on poetry around the world by Menonim Menonimus.
All Rights Reserves.
DTP by Adid Shahriar
After my life-long reading, studying, and enjoying of poetry I have come to the conclusion that Poetry is the most critical, most universal, most talked of, most alluring, most mysterious, most protean, and least understood branch of literature. Yet my first love was with poetry. I like to read and read and enjoy poetry, though I often fail to understand most of them. Along with reading and enjoying, I sometimes like to analyze poetry on my own accord. This present book of mine entitled ‘World Poetry Criticism’ contains critical Analyses of some poetry written during my studenthood at random. The success or failure of my endeavour depends on how my readers appreciate them.
1. E. De Sauza’s Poem ‘Marriages are Made’: An Analytical Study
2. Telephone Conversation a Poem by Wole Soyinka: An Analytical Study’
3. The poem ‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes: An Analytical Study
4. Maya Angelou’s Poem ‘Still I Rise’: An Analytical Study
5. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen: An Analytical Study
6. Nature Images in Sassoon’s Essay ‘Return from the Somme’ and in Henry Reed’s Poem ‘Naming of Parts’
7. The Poem ‘Naming of Parts’ by Henry Reed — An Analytical Study
8. Marge Piercy’s Poem ‘Breaking Out’: An Analytical Study
9. Robert Frost’s poem ‘Mending Wall’: An Analytical Study
10. Ogden Nash’s Poem ‘This is Going to Hurt Just a Little’ — An Analytical Study
11. Ask Me No More Where Jove Bestows: An Analytical Study
12. T.S. Eliot’s Poem ‘Little Gidding’— An Analytical Study
13. D.H. Lawrence’s Poem’The Snake’– An Analytical Study
14. M M’s Poem ‘You Have Given Me’— An Analytical Study
15. G. M. Hopkins’ Poem ‘Carrion Comfort’: An Analytical Study
16. W. Blake’s Poem ‘A Robin Redbreast in a Cage’-An Analytical Study
17. W. Wordsworth’s Poem ‘To the Skylark’– An Analytical Study
18. Robert Southey’s Poem ‘The Scholar’ — An Analytical Study
19. The Poem ‘Come to Me in My Dream and Then’: An Analytical Study
20. W. Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 151–An Analytical Study
21. W. Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 152–An Analytical Study
22. W. Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 153–An Analytical Study
23. W. Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 154–An Analytical Study
24. Emily Dickinson’s Poem: ‘Hope is the Thinking With Feathers’ –An Analytical Study
WORD POETRY CRITICISMS
E. De Sauza’s Poem ‘Marriages are Made’: An Analytical Study
‘Marriages are Made’ is a social poem by Eunice De Sauza. The poem deals with the theme of gender discrimination in Indian society. The poetess’ attitude towards the marriage system as portrayed in the poem is ironic and critical which makes a blow on the tradition of peoples’ agelong outlooks towards women in a male-dominated society.
The narrator (here the poetess) says that her cousin whose name is Elena is to be married. She has undergone a course of formalities which is humiliating for her as a human. The prospective groom of Elena belongs to a Christian family. The family of the groom is searching for an ideal and right bride. They scrutinize the family background of the bride. They have examined whether any of the members of the family of the bride are affected by tuberculosis. Is there any mentally crazy person? The family of the goom goes ahead and makes searches for the economic condition of the family and wants to be sure that Elena’s father was not declared to be a solvent.
The matter does not end there. Elena is examined very carefully. They also scrutinize the look of her eyes to be sure that there are no squints in her eyes. Her teeth are also examined to find out whether there is any cavity among her teeth. The family of the groom has not made an end to examining her there. They go further and examine her stools also to know if there is a non-Brahmin worm in them.
Elena is not quite tall, nor is she quite full enough; but her complexion is fair. They say that her good complexion would compensate for her other physical defects. At last, she was considered to be a good suit for her prospective husband Fransico X, Noronha Prabhu.
Elena as a bride does not have to say anything. She is the victim of social custom and tradition in a male-dominated society. All the formalities that are made rounding Elena humiliate her as a human. On the other hand, her groom is above question.
Thus the poem falls an ironic attack on the gender discrimination that prevailed in Indian society.
The title of the poem ‘Marriages are Made’ is very significant. It suggests that marriage is a man-made custom of society laid down to establish the supremacy of men over women. Marriage for the woman is an event of humiliation. In Indian society caste discrimination along with gender discrimination has been prevailing since time immemorial which has been undermining the family structure of society. The supremacy of man compels the woman to suffer affliction and insulation everywhere in society. Thus the title of the poem is critical. Through the title, the poetess criticizes the marriage system which according to her is artificial bondage that ignores the feeling and emotions of women. Marriage is a ritual that takes off the freedom of women as humans.
The poem is prosaic as it obeys no traditional rule of rhyme or prosody. It is written in free verse. The expression is passive as:
” My cousin Elena
is to be married
The formalities have been completed
her family history examined.”
Thus by using passive voice, the poetess shows the passiveness and incentives of the woman in matters of social rituals like marriage. It also suggests that women are considered by men as goods to be consumed. Men compel women to be the victim of their supremacy. Women have nothing to have their say. All formalities are imposed upon women by men.
Line 20 of the poem is very significant. It reads as:
”Francisco X, Noronha Prabhu
good son of Mother Church.”
This line reflects the status of man in society. In Indian society gender discrimination is a common thing. In society, a man is considered to be the lord of the woman. The man may not have any virtue yet he is beyond criticism. There is nothing to criticize him. All that he has is a virtue. On the other hand, a woman, though she bears good quality, yet she can not get rid of criticism. Francisco X, the would-be husband of Elena is considered to be so. He as a groom searches after a girl of virtue with sound family background. His family even examines the stools (faeces) of Elena to find out if there is a non-Brahmin worm.
Thus the last line of the poem bears the message of the theme of the poem that woman, in a male-dominated society, is subjected to suffering. She is like goods to be consumed by man. Hence the last line of the poem is an ironic conclusion to the theme propounded in the exposition. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Telephone Conversation a Poem by Wole Soyinka: An Analytical Study
‘Telephone Conversation’ is a poem by Wole Soyinka on the theme of racism and prejudice. The poem depicts a course of a conversation between two persons: one is a white English landlady and the other is a black African.
The black African (maybe the poet himself) is in search of a house for rent in the city of London and he has had a talk with a landlady over the telephone. The house to rent out is situated in an area of the city not affected by racial prejudice. The landlady lives outside the premises of the house. So the tenant would enjoy full privacy in the house. The black American (here the poet) thinks it to be his ideal rent house. But the black man has some previous experience that he, being black-skinned, could not get a house for rent in the past. So he frankly confesses to the lady that he is a black African. He does not like to waste his time going there if the landlady refuses after seeing him.
After this, the black man found the lady to be silent on the other side of the telephone. It makes him think that maybe the landlady is reluctant to let out the house to a black man. Then the poet thought that the lady is sensitive to racial discrimination. She might be proud of her good breeding. Again he imagined the lady to be painted with lipstick and perhaps she smokes a cigarette.
At that moment the lady breaks the silence and asks the poet from the other end of the telephone:
Are you light?
Or very dark?’
The question asked by the lady seemed that she is not oversensitive of racism and she wants to help the man by giving the house to him. The man then understands and says if she would like him to compare with chocolate dark or light-dark. The black man’s thought changes and describes himself as a West African Sepia as written on his passport. The lady remains quiet for a while and asks what that is. He replies that it is similar to brunette. It clarifies that he is dark.
He disregards all constraints of formality and mocks her outright, saying that he isn’t all black. The soles of his feet and the palms of his hands are completely white. But as he senses that she is about to slam the receiver on him, he pleads one last time to see for herself.
The tone of the poem is satiric as the poet goes on to describe himself as a black African invoking such phrases that seem to be exaggerated. It is also bantering when the poet says that the soles of his feet and the palms of his hands are completely white.
The theme of the poem is a simple one but the representation is something obscure and compact. The poet has employed some phrases and images which are not easy to interpret in the context of the average reader. Some of such phrases are ‘Pressurized good-breeding’, ‘Stench of rancid breath of public hide and seek’, ‘Red double-tiered Omnibus squelching tar’ etc. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
The poem ‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes: An Analytical Study
The poem ‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes deals with the theme of a dream. But the dream that the poet had in his mind while writing the poem is not mentioned in the poem. Even the titled word ‘Harlem’ is absent from the body of the poem. Literally, ‘Harlem’ is the name of an area in New York City. During the 1920s an intellectual, social and artistic movement rose out in Harlem which is called ‘The Harlem Renaissance’. This movement aimed at bringing out the hopes and aspirations of the Negros, the most oppressed human race.
The poem begins with the question:
‘What happens to a dream deferred?’
The poet tries to show the effects of a deferred dream with the help of some fantastic imageries like the imageries of raisin, sore, rotten meat, syrup and heavy load.
But it seems that there is no answer to the question with which the poem begins. Yet the imageries are very significant because they give us some ideas on the effects of the dream that remain deferred in our life.
We dream in life, but most of our dreams, except only a few, don’t get fulfilled. The life of these people become sweet and happy whose dreams come to reality and the people whose dreams never come into reality become their life boresome and unbearable.
In the last stanza, the poet has used two imageries of sagging and exploding. The imagery of sagging refers to the dreams which never come true. These deferred dreams become unbearable as a heavy load is unbearable to us. The imagery of exploding refers to those dreams which, for not being able to come out naturally, burst out suddenly causing huge destruction to our society.
In the poem ‘Harlem’, the poet has employed alliteration and rhyme as a poetic device to contribute to the effect of the poem.
The alliterations used in the poem are: ‘dream deferred’, ‘does it dry’, ‘syrup sweet’.
The rhyming words used in the poem are:
meat —– sweet
load —- explode.
The poem is about the effects of deferred dreams. The poet Langston Hughes tries to show that some of our deferred dreams become as fine as raisins, some fester like sore for not being able to get fulfilled, some stink like rotten meat and some, which get fulfilled in real life become as sweet as syrup.
Thus the poet, by employing alliteration and rhyme, has succeeded in bringing about the effects of the poem. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Maya Angelou’s Poem ‘Still I Rise’: An Analytical Study
The poem entitled ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou is a poem on the theme of racism through which the poet expresses her reaction and revolutionary voice against the white oppressors of the black Negors living in the USA.
In the poem ‘Still, I Rise’ the poetess gives no account of how she was oppressed but she depicts how bold, determined, strong, outright and defiant she becomes to establish the rights of the oppressed Negros. Her bitter personal experience of racism made her mentally strong and obstinate so she used such phrases as ‘I’ve got oil wells, ‘I’ve got gold mines’, and I’ve got diamonds’. By using all these phrases the poet wants to warn the oppressors that she is no longer weak and lenient like her predecessors but a source of strength and energy for all the oppressed and hence she thinks herself to be important and valuable like gold and diamond. She is ready to liberate herself along with her black fellow men from the yoke of the whites.
The poetess uses some similes in the poem ‘Still I Rise’ and compares herself to the moon, sun and other natural phenomena like the ocean, tide etc. All these images are invoked to present herself as strong and energetic like them. Literary, the natural objects like sun, moon, ocean etc. symbolize vigour and energy. It is thought that they are unparallel in spirit and power. These images appropriately hold good to Maya Angelou because she, as a writer, was a bold and extraordinary one who expressed her feeling and views fearlessly defying the white oppressors.
In the last stanza of the poem, ‘Still, I Rise’ the poet tells that she has taken birth out of the age-long lineage of the oppressed. Their history is full of suppression and shame. The whites migrated from the other parts of the world to America and established their supremacy by tricks and cunnings. The history of the oppressed is deep-rooted in pain. Her predecessors were not bold enough to throw away the supremacy of the white. But the poet is an exceptional one. She has risen up from their past history being arrayed with the armour of strength and challenge and ready to fight the whites.
The above analysis of the poem shows that it is a poem of revolt against the age-long evils of racism. The poem bears the energy from within and the use of rhythm, repetition, simile, symbols etc. have contributed much to this impression of energy.
First, there are two courses of rhythm and repetition in the poem as: ‘Still, I’ll rise’ which is used from the first to the seventh stanzas of the poem. The repetition of the same phrase represents the poet with some extraordinary energy and determination. It asserts the poet’s self-assertiveness and commitment to establishing the rights of the Negros.
The rhythm of the poem seems to change in the eighth stanza where the lines are short. In this stanza, the poet uses the phrase ‘I rise’ frequently. This change of rhythm adds more vigour and force to the poet’s determination and self-assertation.
The poet has invoked the following similes to contribute to this impression:
‘Just like moons and like suns
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high.
Still, I’ll rise.’
Again the poet uses the simile ‘shoulders falling down like teardrops’ and a metaphor like ‘I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide’ also contribute to this impression of energy.
Thus the poet has employed the device of rhythm, repetition, simile, symbols etc. that contribute much force and energy to the tone and purport of the poem. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen: An Analytical Study
‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is a poem by Wilfred Owen written on the theme of war. The title of the poem is borrowed from an ode by the famous Roman poet Horace. Literally, the title means, ‘It is pleasant and proper to die for one’s country.’ But the poet does not agree with the message of Horace. Instead, the poet in the poem portrays the horror of war and explores the sufferance of a young soldier on the battlefield.
The poet says that he along with his group was on the campaign and their opponents were shedding poisonous and corrosive chemicals on them. They turned back and began to trudge towards their distant goal. Many of his associates lost their boots and they were limping ahead. The corrosive gas turned them blind. All of them were tired and deaf.
The poet saw that among the soldiers, one was drowning in the smoke of gases. He was floundering like a man in the fire of lime. He was blood-shed and was dying out of agony.
After this, the poet invokes dream imagery. He saw that the dying soldier was choking and drowning. At every jolt, the blood came gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.
The dream image that the poet employs here increased the propensity of the horrors of war.
By depicting the horror of war the poet substantiates the futility of the message of the ancient Roman poet Horace who said, ‘It is pleasant and proper to die for one’s country’.
Though the poet’s objective of writing the poem was to vivify the horror and sufferance of war, yet there are some elements of beauty in the poem and the beauty lies in the poetic device that the poet has employed.
First, the poet has employed alliterative words and phrases such as knock-kneed, blood-shod, yelling and stumbling and floundering which melody to the poem.
Secondly, the poet has invoked dream imagery in the poem through which he has expressed his view on warfare that war can never be a glorious thing. It always brings in suffering and death. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Nature Images in Sassoon’s Essay ‘Return from the Somme’ and in Henry Reed’s Poem ‘Naming of Parts’
Siegfried Sassoon was a soldier and served the British Army as a Lieutenant General during World War -I. He was sent to France where two important battles were fought by the British and French forces against the Germans within the space of the Somme River. During the battle, Sassoon experienced the horror, decay and sufferance produced by war and became hostile to the warfare. Later on, he narrated his sad experiences of war in the essay entitled “Return from the Somme” which was given a place in his autobiographical essay anthology titled ‘Memoirs of an Infantry Officer’. In this autobiographical essay, Sassoon has made portraiture of landscape juxtaposing with the theme of war-horror.
Like Siegfried Sassoon, Henry Reed the poet of the poem entitled ‘Naming of Parts’ has also brought about vivid portraiture of natural images.
Though both the writers depicted the theme of the horror of war yet there is some considerable picture of nature and landscape which have been brought into action with two different outlooks and annotation.
Siegfried Sasson’s description of the horror of war mingles with the description of the landscape which is realistic as well as poetic. In his description, Sassoon makes a contrast between the peaceful natural world against the criminality of war. This contrast brings into focus the possibility of life on the one hand and the reality of death on the other. He experienced that the battle-wearied soldiers looked like ghosts and thus focus on the fact that there is nothing glorifying about a war.
His account of nature is juxtaposed with warfare. He writes that when he along with his associates were busy inputting the tent up the mountain, he saw that the sun was going down in glory beyond the main road to Amiens. The horizon trees were dark blue against the glare. The dust of the road floated in wreathes while the long shadows of trees made a sort of mirage on the golden haze of the dust. The country along the river swarmed with camps, but the low sun made all seem to be pleasant. After nightfall, the landscape glowed and glinted with campfires and the half-moon appeared to bless the combatant armies with neutral beams.
Thus Sassoon gives a vivid account of natural objects juxtaposing the horror of war.
On the other hand, Henry Red in his poem ‘Naming Parts’ portrays the image of nature as a contrast to the image of horror that warfare produces. His account of nature is ironic and contrasting to the activities of the soldiers who are mechanical and humdrum in their daily life. His account of the natural image stands for life and regeneration. There is a tincture of sexuality which makes contrast with the instruction of the army instructor who teaches the uses of a gun to the new recruits.
In stanza-II of the poem ‘Naming of Parts,’ the instructor continues naming the parts of a gun such as the thumb and fingers in a mechanical fashion. On the other hand, the recruit responds to the sensuality of the spring activity in the garden. This emotional response to the ‘fumbling bees assaulting the flowers’ makes the recruit all the more conscious of that which they don’t have as soldiers.
When the soldiers notice that the ‘bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers, the image of sexuality appears in the poem. It is developed through the pun on ‘easing the spring’ which is at once a part of the gun and also sexual reproductive activity. The bolt and cocking piece of the gun and the breech that goes backward and forward – all actions with reference to the gun – have sexual implications and refer to the sexual activity running on the objects of nature.
Thus the portraiture of nature differs from that of the account of Sasson’s. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
‘Naming of Parts’ by Henry Reed — An Analytical Study
The poem ‘Naming of Parts’ by Henry Reed is a section of a sequence of poems titled ‘Lessons of War’. Like Wilfred Owens’ ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, this is also a poem of War. There are five stanzas and two distinct speakers in the poem: one the strict instructor and the other new sensitive recruit (soldier). The instructor teaches the new recruit to operate a rifle, but at the same time is being distracted by the outer beauty of the springtime. They have gone side by side presenting their views on war and normal life. Thus the poem deals with two contradictory themes: the theme of the destructive power of war and the theme of the beauty of life. The style of the poem is humorous with a lot of puns.
The poem is divided into some stanzas. Each stanza bears two distinct parts. The first three lines of each stanza (except the final stanza) present the instructor’s voice and the second part contrasts the world of the military camp with the world of nature.
In Stanza-I, the instructor teaches the name of the parts of the gun with mostly technical terms; but when the recruits’ voice takes over words flow into long musical sentences evoking sensuous images of colour, beauty and elegance. The instructor says:
‘Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday.
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing.’
On the other hand, the recruit is distracted by the beauty of nature as:
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens.”
The irony here is that the soldiers are shown to be lacking in all that the garden represents. The garden is a symbol of life and beauty.
In stanza -II, the instructor shows two parts of the gun as upper and lower sling swivels and says that they would know their function when they are given a sling to use. Then the soldiers look at the bees in the garden and notice that the bees are also highly structured and regimented but the comparison here is ironic because the bees are intimately related to the flowers and are an integral part of the natural order of things whereas the soldiers are related to the activities which represent chaos and destruction.
In stanza-III, the instructor continues naming the parts of a gun such as the thumb and fingers in the same mechanical fashion. On the other hand, the recruits respond to the sensuality of the spring activity in the garden. This emotional response to the ‘fumbling bees assaulting the flowers’ makes the recruit all the more conscious of that which they don’t have as soldiers.
When the soldiers notice that the ‘bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers’ the image of sexuality appears in the poem. It is developed through the pun on ‘easing the spring’ which is at once a part of the gun and also sexual reproductive activity. The bolt and cocking piece of the gun and the breech that goes backwards and forwards – all actions with reference to the gun – have sexual implications and refer to the sexual activity running on the objects of nature. In the case of the gun, all the actions are shown and instructed by the instructor lead to death and destruction, whereas the actions in the garden lead to the fertility and regeneration of life.
In the first four stanzas the two voices: the voices of the instructor and the voices of the soldier are distinctly different yet metaphorically connected. The recruit takes one or the other instruction and relocates that in the context of the garden. This relocation which is only partial in the earlier stanza is made perfect in the final stanza with the line, ‘They call it easing the spring’. The alternating voices fuse into the single voice of the new soldier.
In the poem, Henry Reed projects two speakers with the main poetic device of imagery and wordplay to produce two connotative meanings. The world of war and the world of beauty is put side by side with the imagery of Japonica plant that shines like a coral and the imagery of a rifle in the first stanza. The imagery of the missing ‘piling swivel’ is contrasted with the imagery of tree branches that hold the trees in an eloquent manner. The activities of the bees and the flower plants as ‘easing the spring’, ‘assaulting and fumbling the flowers’, ‘rapidly forward and backward’ etc. figuratively suggest sexual connotations. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Marge Piercy’s Poem ‘Breaking Out’: An Analytical Study
The poem entitled ‘Breaking Out’ by Marge Piercy is a poem written on the theme of sufferance that the poetess had undergone during her childhood in the hand of her parents.
The poem begins with the phrase: ”My first political act.” Practically there is nothing political in the poem. But the reference suggests that the poetess’ struggle was like that of political leaders. In politics, a rivalry is a common thing. One party or a political leader struggles hard to overcome the other. Here the poetess struggled to overcome the oppression that she had suffered during her childhood. It was a painful experience of the poetess. This reference shows us how hard and painful her life was.
In the poem, there is a reference to Sisyphus. He was a legendary king of Corinth. For various offenses, he was condemned in the underworld eternally to roll a boulder to the top of a hill from where it always rolled down.
The poetess makes the reference of Sisyphus to make a comparison of her mother’s sufferance. Her mother had to work hard all the time. There was no end to that. She had to remove sludge and to scrub the things every day which were humdrum and tiresome. The poetess hated the chores. The reference works as a metaphor in the poem to explain how her mother happened to suffer.
The poetess’ parents judged her to be wicked. Then her parents used their wooden yardstick to punish her. Her mother wielded it on her fiercely and her father used it on her even harder. The poetess is a child who could do nothing against the oppression that she suffered. But she tried hard to get rid of it. One day she was able to break up the yardstick. The breaking up of the yardstick symbolized that she had acquired courage enough to stand against the age-long prejudice and oppression perpetrated upon children.
This poem is a difficult one because of its compressed style. The imagery of Sisyphus, and the imagery of factory ash contribute to the difficulty of the poem. There are some phrases in the poem which can hardly be gauged as: ‘my first political act’, leaning together like gossips’, ‘scrubbing as raw knees as the factories ash’ etc.
However, the poem gives a tincture of how the poetess became a victim of oppression at the hand of her parents during her childhood. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Robert Frost’s Poem ‘Mending Wall’: An Analytical Study
Robert Frost (1874-1963) is an American poet who wrote poems after his own experience in a simple and terse style. The present poem Mending Wall is characteristically a Frostian poem. The main theme of the poem is Separation. The title of the poem Mending Wall suggests the theme of the poem. The poem deals with two contradictory ideas.
The poet Robert Frost had a neighbour. Between their farms, there was a wall. During every spring they met to mend the wall. In spring, they saw a hole in the wall as they were walking around the wall. The neighbour of the poet was a devout advocate the having a wall between them and his notion was:
‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
But the poet’s notion was contradictory. He thought that there was need but of no wall because there were no animals to spoil or harm their farms. So the spring season was the ‘mischief’ in him. His neighbourhood had pine trees on his farm and in that of the poet’s were apple trees. His apple trees never got across the other farm. But the neighbour was obstinate to his belief that “Good fences make a good neighbour.”
To the poet, the wall is a symbol of separation between the two. So he dares to say that his neighbour moved in the darkness. To quote the poet’s speech:
‘He moves in darkness as it seems to me.
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.’
From studying the subject matter and the poet’s philosophy expressed in the poem it may be said that the poet is board minded humanitarian and his neighbour is narrow-minded selfish. The poet is the advocate of unity and the poet’s neighbour is the advocate of diversity. The neighbour physically as well as mentally goes away from the sense of unity. But the poet thinks that there should have no wall between them because it symbolizes separation.
Style and Language: The poem like the other poem by Robert Frost is written in simple language but it is free from the rhyme scheme. There is a felicitous comparison as “like an old —— savage armed.” To conclude is to say that this is a poem teaching broad-mindedness versus narrow-mindedness. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Ogden Nash’s Poem ‘This is Going to Hurt Just a Little’ — An Analytical Study
This is Going to Hurt Just a Little Bit is a humorous poem written by Ogden Nash. It is written from the poet’s own experience which he had while he went to a dentist to get his teeth treated. The main theme of the poem is fear of pain—both mental and physical. The poem is written in irregular line lengths.
The poet says that he likes one thing less which is sitting on a dentist’s chair with his mouth wide open. He feels the condition very tormenting because it gives both physical and mental tortures. The poet says:
‘…..some tortures are physical and some are mental
But the one that is the both is dental.’
The treatment may not be so much dreadful or painful but the attitude and the style of the dentist with his instruments is painful that causes both mental and physical torture. The poet gets surprised with the use of the instruments of the dentist, because the doctor uses his instruments with the help of a mirror.
At last, the poet suggests to his readers to keep their teeth in good condition so that they can get rid of going to a dentist.
To comment on this poem it is to say that the poem is a good specimen of how a trifling everyday experience can be a theme of a poem.
The language and style of the poem is though simple, yet there is minor difficulties in understanding the meanings of some words and phrases as the poet invents some new words in order to make a rhyme with other words as—‘hopen’, ‘monce’ and ‘sentest’. The phrases not easily comprehensible in the poetic sense are—to be strong up by ‘thumbs’, ‘crowbar’ and ‘vicious circle’. Moreover, the poem is coloured by simile and metaphor.
To conclude it must admit that this is a simple humorous poem written on ordinary everyday experience the style and language of which are also simple though not written in regular line length. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
‘Ask Me No More Where Jove Bestows’: An Analytical Study
‘Ask Me no More Where Jove Bestows’ is a piece of love poem through which the poet has glorified the physical beauty of his beloved. The poem is written in simple easy language.
In this little poem, the poet says, in the style of dramatic monologue, that the poet should not be asked by his beloved about where God bestows the beauty of rose when the flagrance of flower fades away with the passing of the month of June. The poet says poetically that the beauty of the flower really does not fade away forever. Its beauty is the only transcript to his lover’s body which enriches the beauty of his beloved.
Secondly, the poet says more that the shining of the atoms of the day i.e. sun is designed to enrich the beauty of the hair of his beloved.
The glorification of the beauty of the poet’s beloved as portrayed in this poem is very sensitive which incite readers’ heart and gives sensuous pleasure and joy. The poetic description of the beauty of the poet’s beloved is something exaggerated.
The language of this piece of poem is very simple and easy. The figure of speech employed throughout this poem is hyperbolic though not beyond the truth of poetic imagery that includes metaphors—first, the poet compares the beauty of his beloved with the beauty of a rose and then with the beauty of the “golden atomb of the day” i.e. the sun. The rhyme scheme of the poem is aa bb. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
T.S. Eliot’s Poem ‘Little Gidding’— An Analytical Study
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) is less popular but a great poet of the twentieth century. He took to poetry writing with a new idea and new theory. He revolutionized the doctrine of the twentieth century with a bold and perfect hand which gave rise to the modern complex poem. His poems are generally characterized by complexities—Complexity in philosophy, complexity in symbol, complexity in imagery and complexity in style and language. He, in the field of literature, was an eager classicist, modified traditionalist and revolutionized modernist. His poetry generally deals with human philosophy and the living intellect of his time. His Little Gidding is a typical Eliotsian piece of poetry belonging to the collection of poetry entitled Four Quarters that came out in book form in 1944. Like his other poems, this poem also dealt with the philosophical as well as the intellectual theme of ‘Time’. Little Gidding is the name of a place where there was a church well known to everybody till the Puritan fanatics broke it up at the beginning of the civil war. Eliot probably made a pilgrimage to Little Gidding and was inspired to write this long poem. The poem is written in five sections the theme of which is the time that runs through death and life and lasts ever long.
The Section-I Symbolically describes the death of four elements that constitute human life—these are the air, the earth, the water and the fire. The death of earth means the death of mirth, the death of water symbolizes the death of life and the fire symbolizes decay of all things. In this section-I, the poet first gives a symbolic description of the location of the place, Little Gidding where once there was a famous church. The poet went there in the mid-winter season when there was cold but hot at midday. The poet says:
‘In the dark time of the year.
Between meeting and freezing the soul’s sap quivers.
There is no earth smell or smell of living thing.’
In the second stanza of section-I, the poet says addressing to his readers that they may go there for religious purposes and while going there they would meet “Rough Road”, “Pigsty”, “Dull Facade” and “The Tomb Stone”. They would arrive at that place in any way if they wish to visit that place. The poet says:
‘Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfillment.’
In the third stanza, the poet says that the place Little Gidding is a place of spiritual advancement. One should go there to pray to God only. The poet speaks philosophically and instructs his readers:
‘You are here to kneel
where prayer has been valid.
And prayer is more than an order of words,
the conscious occupation of the praying mind.’
The Section-II deals with the dissolution of death and futility of a life of those who live a worldly life and in whose everyday work there is no spiritual purity. This section can be regarded as the logical beginning of the whole poem. The description of this section is symbolic. Human life is temporary, life is meaningless, and death is the only truth—is the philosophy of this section. And to clarify this idea the poet invokes an old man who as a man takes birth, lives to the old age and at last dies. This section deals with two contradictory ideas as—flood and drought, laughs without mirth. In the third stanza of the section-II, the poet introduces a stranger or ghost, who symbolizes death. After all the poet shows through this section that life is full of futility for irreligious persons or for those who don’t live a spiritual life.
The section-III also begins with contradictory ideas on life. The past and the present seem alike yet there is a difference between the two. From time to time the history of a race, nation, or generation changes and there are the two states of dignity. The poet says:
‘There are three conditions which often look alike
Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow:
Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
From self and from things and from persons
and growing between them indifference.’
Again the poet says:
‘………… History may be servitude
History may be freedom.’
The poet puts an end to this section with the saying that living men should be given more importance than the dead. Every dead man, for us, is a symbol of death that perfects in death. The poet is optimistic that if the motive of a person is well, everything shall be well. In the words of the poet:
‘And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive.’
The section-IV is comprised of only two short stanzas the first of which declares the redemption of man from sin and error through death. And the second stanza of this section says about love. Love is an inborn sense that human power cannot remove.
Section -V develops the idea of the preceding section-III. The idea of this section is that every experience is integrated with all others. There is no difference between the end and the beginning. Where something ends another thing begins. In the words of the poet:
‘What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning
The end is where we start from.’
Saying so, the poet says about the significance of words, as:
‘Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.’
So there is no difference between ‘birth’ and ‘death’. Someone dies and someone takes birth. So birth and death are the same things to nature. The poet says:
‘We die with the dying
See, they depart and we go with them.
We are born with the dead.’
At last, the poet says spiritually as well as intellectually that the practice of religion or leading spiritual life means exploring the mystery of birth and death. If one can explore birth or death, one will arrive at the same conclusion that the idea of death and birth is the same as it was before being explored. But everything becomes good or well after only death. Symbolically the poet says:
‘All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.’
The poem though deals with the philosophical matter, like birth and death, yet it is an intellectual poem based upon a deep appreciation of everyday experience. The poet becomes so much thoughtful and meditative that like a prophet, he surrenders to time and eternal God. The practice of religion is the practice to become eternal like God and for one who practices spiritualism birth and death is not matter to him.
The poem may also be interpreted in the light of the poet’s private life affairs. Before the beginning of his poetic career, he suffered from a mental dilemma, and this dilemma is exhibited in this poem.
The language of the poem is easy and simple written in unrhymed verse, but the use of symbols and contradictory ideas make the poem a typically difficult one. In this poem, earth, air, fire, water, rose tree, dove etc. stand as symbols of death and life. The poem is coloured by figures of words also. Such as alliteration and a felicitous use of words; for example—frost and fire, hearts heat, soul’s sap, rough road etc.
To conclude it is reasonable to say that this is a typical Eliotsian poem characterized by all the characteristics of the twentieth-century English symbolic verse. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
D.H. Lawrence’s Poem’The Snake’– An Analytical Study
D.H. Lawrence is an English novelist and poet of the twentieth century. He is more famous as a novelist than a poet. He wrote a good deal of poems that are characteristically his own with a difference if compared with that of his contemporaries. The Snake is a typical Lawrencian piece of poetry. In this poem, the poet D.H. Lawrence expresses his kind feeling toward a wild being like a snake.
First, the poet says about when and how he met a snake face to face. He says that it was on a hot summer day that he went, taking a pitcher with him, to his water trough which was under the shade of a dark carob tree. While he was about to reach the trough, then he saw a snake that it had come out through a chasm of an earth wall. Seeing the snake the poet waited some moment and observed the snake’s activities there. He saw that the snake was ‘earth-brown’ and ‘earth-golden’ in colour.
Secondly, the poet expresses his mental dilemma between the traditional belief and his poetic i.e. humane feeling towards the snake. Traditionally people’s attitude towards a snake is that a snake should be killed if possible. But the poet’s feeling is different. The poet thought that ‘Snake’ is like a human being. It has its own feeling, comforts and hospitality towards other beings which people generally fail to feel. The poet suffers from the dilemma that if he kills the snake following traditional belief, then it would be cowardice. The poet truly admits that he was afraid of the snake, but he also honoured the snake more for which he hesitated to kill it. At last, his humane i.e. kind feeling was defeated under the pressure of the traditional belief and then he picked up a clumsy log and threw it to the snake while it was going back through the dark fissure of the earth-wall. The log stroked the snake to its back, but it did not kill the snake.
In final, the poet comes to the conclusion that his acts done towards the snake, was anti-humane. At last, his human feelings overcame his cruel feeling towards the snake and he regretted his cruelty to the snake. He then felt that human education is anti-humane. So finally he began to think the snake was a king. Regretting his atrocious activity towards the snake, the poet says:
And I have something to expiate.’
To comment on the poem it is said that the poem is a struggle between human education and felt education. The poem teaches us that wild beings are also like a human. They should be treated with kind feelings.
It is written in free verse which reads like a piece of prose. Its language is prose but emotional, homely, rally and simple. In the poem, the poet has used some homely phrases such as—‘yellow-brown’, ‘earth-Brown’, ‘earth-golden’, ‘slack-long’, ‘two-forked tongue’ etc which are felicitous to themselves. There is the use of some alliterative phrases such as—‘burning bowels’, ‘mused a moment’, ‘dark door’ etc.
In conclusion, it would be reasonable to say that this poem is a utilitarian poem relevant to the age. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
M M’s Poem ‘You Have Given Me’— An Analytical Study
‘You Have Given Me’ is a little poem written in praise of the poet’s beloved that inspires the poet in every sphere of life. Gratitude to the poet’s beloved (here he may be the poet’s Parton) is the main theme of the poem.
First, in this piece of poetry, the poet acknowledges his gratitude to his beloved (patron) and says that being inspired by his beloved; the poet has become prosperous both in earthly life and heavenly thoughts. The patron of the poet has inspired not only to earn homes and domes, shield and field, land and sand which are earthly riches but with them, he or she inspired the poet to feel the joys and sorrows of all humans. The poet says that under the pressure of both the joys and sorrows, he has reached the gate of heaven and enjoyed the heavenly ecstasy. The experience of joys and sorrows felt within the poet’s heart turns him into a prophet.
Secondly, the poet anticipates that the human races have embraced the ways or set of creeds of the poet that he has made out of his conscious thought and meditation in favour of a better human race.
Thirdly, the poet admits with an open heart that his Parton has made him make out the path of a new law, order and creed as means of solving the problems and ignorance of human beings which the sages and prophets before him were deprived of.
At last, the poet praises his patron (beloved) for being inspired by him or her.
The thought and feeling expressed in this poem are difficult because it deals with both earthly experiences and heavenly graces. Here the poet’s optimistic outlook towards a better Earth is expressed.
The language of the poem is easy and reads like a piece of continuous prose in sentence structure but the imagery used in this poem is poetic i.e. emotional and figurative.
To sum up, this little piece of poetry is a philosophical one through which the poet anticipates what he would become. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
G. M. Hopkins’ Poem ‘Carrion Comfort’: An Analytical Study
“Carrion Comfort” is one of the typical sonnets by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It is a difficult sonnet—both in theme and style. The main theme of the sonnet is the poet’s mental conflicts between body and soul or between Sin and Virtue or between Devil and God.
Once the poet Hopkins was tempted by worldly or sensual pleasure and then all his spiritual hopes and ecstasy got weakened. In other words, to say, the poet’s spiritual ecstasy had been lost by the pressure of worldly pleasure. Hence he determined, from then onwards, that he would not allow sensual pleasure to overcome him. When the poet decided to cut off his sensual pleasure, a feeling of Despair attacked his mind. Though despair is wearisome and unbearable for the human mind, yet the poet thought that despair (mental stress or conflict) in a worldly matter brought in some spiritual joy and delight.
Secondly, the poet thinks within his heart and mind that when he suffers from utter despair and desolation, it becomes bliss in disguise. The poet thinks more that Despair is an agent of God or Christ who becomes a tempest and blows over the poet’s heart and body. The tempo of the tempest is unbearable to him, yet he bears it with patience because he thinks that it purifies his heart from sin. What is sin or good in him is like ‘grain’. God’s wrath (that means that the poet’s feeling of despondency in his heart) has a corrective power that cleanses the poet’s heart.
Thirdly, the poet comes to the height of his spiritual faith and says that ‘despair’ that came on him is effective and wholesome for his heart. Through suffering from despair the poet has received spiritual delight in his mind and for which he thanks God or Christ with devotion.
The theme of the poem is generally common to everybody. Most people on earth at least once in their life suffer from despair or mental conflict between sin and virtue or between worldly pleasure and spiritual ecstasy. But to overcome worldly pleasure one must suffer from despair i.e. repentance and only then his heart may be purged of sin. The language and style of the poem are difficult which is one of the common characteristics of G. M. Hopkins’ poetic style. Though this poem is a sonnet, yet he has not followed any existing pattern of a sonnet. His pattern is his own and original. He uses most difficult words and phrases that have a symbolic value such as—‘Carrion Comfort’ (means the control of the body over sensual pleasure). ‘Despair’ is a word which is personified and symbolically means sufferance through which one can be blessed by God and can turn to spiritual devotion. Such the word ‘tempest’ signifies the power of God that can purge a heart of sin. Some of Hopkin’s phrases are his own, such as—‘wring-world’ which means punishing the world, ‘Foot-rock’ which means the footprints of God, ‘Heaven-Handing’ means God or Christ who has the power to handle heaven. Moreover, Hopkin’s language is coloured by alliteration such as—‘carrion comfort’, ‘wring-world’, ‘lion-limb’, ‘dark-some devouring’’, ‘bruised bones’, heaven-handling’, ‘wretch lay wrestling’ etc.
After all, it is a religious poem with a universal appeal but the language and style employed in this poem seem rude and difficult for average readers. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Blake’s Poem ‘A Robin Redbreast in a Cage’-An Analytical Study
‘A Robin Redbreast in a Cage’ is a piece of lyrical poetry in English written by William Blake (1757-1827). Through this poem, the poet shows his kind or sympathetic feeling towards birds and animals. It is written in a simple and lucid style.
The poet has depicted the cruelty of human being perpetrated to animals and birds and then he says about what happens to people when they perpetrate cruelties to animals and birds. The poet says that when a robin redbreast (a kind of bird) is put in a cage then the angels of Heaven are enraged with the human being. Secondly, the poet says that a dog while it starves at his master’s gate, it predicts that the state must ruin. In other words, to say, the human race must suffer from famine. A game-cock, while clipped off its feathers and armed for fight, then the rising sun affrights of it. The poet says about a horse while it is misused on the road it suggests that there will be bloodshed in human society. While a hunter hunts a hare then the hare’s outcry tears the fibre of the poet. The skylark when any human being makes a wound to its wings it makes the angle of heaven cease their songs. The man will not be loved by anyone if he hurt the little wren.
At last, the poet suggests his readers to feed the beggar’s dog and window’s cat and if the human being does so to them it will be done immense good to the human being in turn.
The poem is mystic as the poet wishes to mean that the wild animals and birds are the expression of divine spirit for which the atrocity done to those beings, God and angels get enraged and as divine punishment human being happens to suffer in life. This poem teaches us the lesson that human beings should be sympathetic towards wild animals and birds as every action of ours has a reaction.
This poem is written in a simple style. It is free from difficult figures of speech. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Wordsworth’s Poem ‘To the Skylark’– An Analytical Study
‘To the Skylark’ is a romantic poem written by William Wordsworth (1770-1850). The main theme of the poem is beauty, joy and mystery in nature.
The poet W. Wordsworth in this poem takes the skylark as the subject matter of his poetry and rounding it he lets his store of imagination go out and addresses the skylark as ‘Ethereal Minstrel’ by which the poet wants to mean that the skylark is not an earthly being but a heavenly bird. Again he says metaphorically that the bird skylark is the “pilgrim of the sky” that means that the sky is a holy place where the bird pilgrimages with a religious heart. After saying so, the poet asks the bird whether it despises the Earth which is full of sorrows and sufferance and whether she remembers the earth where its nest lies behind while it sours up to heaven. The bird can, though goes high up to the sky, drop down into its nest at will and then its music comes to an end.
In the second stanza, the poet says that this bird flies up to the last vision of human eyes and even it can fly beyond the mountain. While it sours up high it sings a song that is full of love and joy. Her young one lies on its nest. The poet says that there is a never-failing bond between it and its young ones. Its song is so joyous that the song thrills the bosom of human being that lives on this earth. The skylark has the special privilege that it can sing the song all the season which the other birds cannot do.
In the third stanza, the poet compares the skylark with the nightingale and says that the nightingale is a bird that lives in shady wood but the skylark can live in light also. It sings so melodious song that with its melody it inundates the world. The poet says that it sings the song from its instinct but in its instinct, there is more divine inspiration. At last, the poet comes to the conclusion that the bird is a type of wise man. As a wise man does not forget his duty to God, though the lives on this mortal earth is full of sorrow and sufferance, so is the bird though it lives on earth it does not forget its devotion to God for which it sours up to heaven.
The theme of the poem is a romantic one as the poet sees and feels joy, beauty and mystery not in human society but in Nature and in natural objects. The poem is mystic as the poet looks at the bird with a mystic outlook and sees the spirit of God in it.
The poem is full of nature imagery. The skylark’s soaring up so high, its especial privilege to sing in all seasons and its comparison with nightingale—all the imageries are very sensitive which the poet visualizes in this piece of poetry.
In it, there are two fine novel metaphors as—‘Ethereal Minstrel’, and ‘pilgrim of the sky’.
In conclusion, it is to say that this is a fine romantic poem with a didactic lesson written in simple style. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Robert Southey’s Poem ‘The Scholar’ — An Analytical Study
‘The Scholar’ is a short but fine lyric by Robert Southey in which he expresses his gratitude to the ancient poets whose works he had read and developed his skill of versification. The poem is written in four distinctive stanzas.
In the first stanza, he says that he has spent his years reading the works of those poets who are dead. Whichever book he reads he comes to the acquaintance of the teachings and wisdom of those poets. He reads their writings and makes communication of his thoughts with that of those dead poets. He is so much acquainted with the thoughts and teachings left by the dead poets behind them in their writings that the poet cannot forget them at any moment. That is why he says that those dead poets are his “never failing friends”.
I the second stanza, the poet admits that he takes delight, after reading their works while he is in a good mood and seeks relief while he is in a bad mood. And then he expressed his gratitude to them. This gratitude is not feigned but hones and instinctive. While he understands their works and realizes his debt to them in learning wisdom then his eyes shed tears which bedew his two checks in gratitude.
In the third stanza, the poet Robert Southey saysthat his thoughts are also alike with the thoughts of the dead poets as he spent long past years after reading their works. But the poet is not a blind imitator of those dead poets. He studies their works and evaluates their thoughts and then he loves their virtues and condemns their faults. He reads their writings with a noble purpose to seek instruction and catches instruction with a humble mind.
At last, in the fourth stanza, he expresses his hopes that one day or other he will die and wishes that his soul would fly to the place where the dead poets have gone. He hopes more that he, like the dead poets, will travel on through all futurity by means of his writings which the generations from generations to come will read. He wishes more that he will be able to leave his name as a poet which will not be perished in the dust. In other words, he will create worth reading poetry which will keep his name alive in the future.
The gratitude that the poet has shown to the dead poets is instinctive and emotional without any feigning. It is his frank declaration of gratitude to the poets of the past.
The lyric is written in rhyme and the rhyme scheme is- ab ab cc. The language of the poem is simple and easy to understand. In this lyric, he personifies the word ‘Dead’. The word ‘Dead’ refers to the poets who are dead already. The last stanza of the poem reads like an epitaph as—
‘My hopes are with the dead anon.
My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on
Through all Futurity
Yet leaving here a name, I trust
That will not perish in the dust.’ 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
The Poem ‘Come to Me in My Dream and Then’: An Analytical Study
‘Come to Me in My Dreams and Then’ is a piece of romantic poetry the theme of which is the poet’s longing for his beloved to meet in dreams at night. It’s written in a simple style.
The poet says addressing his imaginary beloved to come to him at night in dreams because the poet has been suffering from the pain of separation from his beloved. By suffering pain the poet becomes broken-hearted and so desires her company in dreams. The poet says that his beloved is a heavenly being that would come as a messenger from radiant climes. The poet says more that his beloved is kind to all and asked her to be kind to the poet also. The poet has been waiting for his beloved since long past days but she has not come in reality. So the poet implores her to come to prove that dream is true. The poet lastly, desires that his lover would come at night and would manipulate her hand on the poet’s head and kiss on his eye-brows and would console the pained heart of the poet. If she comes in dreams at night then all the pain and weariness that the poet has been suffering from would come to an end.
This piece of poem deals with the theme of love, but the poet’s love is not spiritual but amorous as he says:
‘Come now and let me dream it truth
And part my hair and kiss my brow.’
Through amorous is this piece of poetry yet it is rich in sensuous imagery.
The style of this poem is easy and simple. It’s written in the style of a dramatic monologue. The rhyme scheme of the poem is aa, bb.
After all, it is an enjoyable sensuous love lyric that draws the attention of our heart more than our mind. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 151–An Analytical Study
The greatest master of English literature, William Shakespeare dealt his ‘Sonnet No 151’ with the theme of physical love. His desire for a sexual relationship with his mistress, which means his paramour, is expressed in this sonnet. The poet gives not poetic but materialistic causes of his sexual desire for his mistress but the representation of this materialistic love is full of conceits which add poetic charm to this sonnet.
The poet says that love is so silly that it pays no attention to conscience. But it is love out of which conscience takes birth. So the poet address to his mistress to be a fraud to the poet. As his mistress deceives the poet, so the poet expects to develop a sexual relationship with his mistress. The cause is that his mistress has already betrayed the poet. In response to the betrayal of his mistress, the poet wants to use his sexual limb against the honesty of his spirituality. Now his soul allows his flesh to ‘Triumph in Love’ which means he is inclined to quench his sexual desire. While the soul allows the poet to do so his flesh needs no further reason. Then the poet’s flesh ‘rises’ which means his sex organ enters into the organ of his mistress and this is regarded by the poet as his triumph over love for his mistress. The poet is proud of his sexual intercourse. And the poet is happy in serving his mistress like a slave giving sexual pleasure to his mistress. The love expressed in this poem is sexual, not spiritual. Though his love is amorous, yet we cannot accuse the poet of being obscene, though there is no doubt there are elements of obscenity.
The language of this sonnet is not easy to understand as there are some words and phrases which are ambiguous. Such as “gross body” means the sexual organ “proud of this pride” the pride here means the poet’s sexual pleasure that he had with his mistress “rise and fall” the up and down of the sexual organ of the poet. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Shakespeares’ Sonnet No. 152–An Analytical Study
‘The Sonnet No. 152’ is a sonnet that deals with the theme of love and oath. Both the poet and his mistress took an oath of love that they would love each other and remain faithful to each other but both violated the oath. Though they broke their oath yet the poet felt no repentance and did not bring any accusation against his mistress. Instead, he guards their breaking of oaths by means of poetic arguments.
The poet says that when he began to love his mistress; he had broken his marriage-vow as he betrayed his wife. But his mistress that is his paramour has broken two vows—as she broke the marriage-vow betraying her husband while she began to love the poet and secondly she broke the oath that she took when she falls in love with the poet. Thus the poet’s mistress broke two oaths. But the poet brings no accusation against her; because the poet himself is more promiscuous than his paramour. He has already broken twenty oaths. The poet’s oaths were aimed at defrauding his mistress. Thus the poet lost all his honest faith in his mistress. Now the poet makes a new oath and says that his mistress is very kind, very loving, very truthful and very constant. And thus to brighten her image and character the poet has become deliberately blind to his mistress’ faults. In doing so, the poet represents her as being just the opposite of what she really is. He swears that she is fair and swearing so the poet commits more perjuries as he swears against the truth.
The argument brought about here is no doubt strikingly humorous and at the same time, the argument excites our sense of wonder. The argument is highly full of conceits for which this sonnet also, like his other sonnets, is metaphysical as the poet propounded the feeling of false swearing and guards it by arguments. (Here to say that a metaphysical poem is that which deals with a philosophic or spiritual or mystic or theosophical theme and elaborated it by means of poetic arguments made up of striking and farfetched often fantastic conceits). The main charm of the sonnet is not the theme but the argument in support of the theme. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Shakespeares’ Sonnet No. 153–An Analytical Study
Like other sonnets of Shakespeare, this ‘Sonnet No. 153’ also deals with the theme of love through which the poet expresses his deeper love for his mistress; who is called ‘Dark lady’. The sonnet is highly imaginative and his sense of love to his mistress is expressed through the imagery of Cupid, the god of love in Greek mythology. The imagery is full of conceits that strike our sense of wonder and thus surprise us.
The poet begins this sonnet with the imagery of Cupid and fantastically says that once the god of love, Cupid, was laying in sleep keeping aside the love ‘brand’ that means the weapon by which Cupid rouses the sense of love in humans. At that time a maiden of Diana, the goddess of hunting and chastity took the opportunity to extinguish the fire of the brand so that cupid could not use it to set the human heart with the passion of love. Taking this advantage, she very quickly picked the brand up and steeped it in a nearby spring of cold water. But the water of that spring itself got heated forever. Hence the spring acquired the power to heal the strange maladies of the people. When Cupid lost his love brand then he lit his brand afresh from the fire of the poet’s mistress’s eyes. To test the effectiveness of the fire taken up anew from the poet’s mistress, Cupid touched the poet’s breast with his new brand. Then the poet being touched became lovesick as the passion of love for his mistress roused in the poet’s heart. So to have a cure of his passion the poet dipped into the spring. But the poet found no cure because the real cure for the poet’s passion for love lay in his mistress’s eyes from whom Cupid had his brand new-fired.
The love expressed in this sonnet is no doubt, passionate, un-feigning but the imagery through which the poet expresses his passion is very striking, charming sensuous and far-fetched. This sonnet shows how imaginative a piece of poetry maybe!
The language of this sonnet is typically Shakespearean like his other sonnets where there are some phrases not easily understood by the common readers as there is the reference not only for Cupid but also of Diana and of her maiden followers.
The charm of the sonnet lies not in the theme but in the imageries through which the poet brings his theme into reality. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
W. Shakespeares’ Sonnet No. 154–An Analytical Study
‘The Sonnet No. 154’ by William Shakespeare is the last sonnet of his sonnet sequence. Like most of his sonnets, this sonnet also deals with the theme of love. In this sonnet, the poet William Shakespeare has expressed the philosophy of love that it is a passion that can never be swept away from the human heart. It is instinctive. First, the poet gives an imaginative, that is poetic, account of how the passion of love enters the heart of humans and then he expresses his philosophy of love.
The poet gives a poetic description of the birth of the passion of love and says that the passion of love was first in Cupid, the god of love. Once he was lying asleep keeping his brand (stick) of the passion of love beside him. In the meantime, some maidens (nymphs) who had taken a vow of chastity happened to pass by. Then the most beautiful (fairest) nymph picked up the brand which was full of the burning flame of love. While she picked up the brand of love in her hand it had given rise to the passion of love in the heart of numerous people. Thus Cupid lost his brand of love and its passion was transferred to the heart of humans. Being hot by the flame of that love brand, the nymph dipped it into spring full of cool water. The water of the spring became hot being in touch with the hot brand of love and thus the spring became hot far ever. From then onwards the spring acquired the power of remedy of any disease in humans. The poet also became ill of love and hence he went to the spring to get a remedy for love-sick. But instead of getting a remedy the poet’s desire for love for his mistress increased and then it was proved to the poet that the passion for love is so hot that no water could cool it. The poet says:
“Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love”
The cause of the passion of love and its creeping down into the human heart as shown by the poet is highly fantastic, which falls in the genre of literary conceit. And it is the conceit that is the main charm of this sonnet.
Moreover, the sonnet reveals the poet’s intimate love and true affection to his mistress. Hence, like preceding sonnets of his, this sonnet is also autobiographical which reflects his passion of love for his mistress i.e. dark lady.
This sonnet is written in the rhyme scheme of ab ab, cd cd, ef ef, gg, which is popularly called Shakespearean rhyme scheme or English rhyme scheme. There are some unfamiliar but poetic phrases as— “the little love-god” which indicates the Greek mythological god Cupid, who is a mere boy that presides over the passion of love; “the heart-inflaming brand” which means the stick full of the passion of love; “came tripping by” means came dancing with a mirthful heart; ‘Votary’ which means a flower of Diana, who is the goddess of hunting and chastity, ‘legions’ means large numbers, ‘the general of hot desire’ indicates ‘Cupid’ the god of love, according to Greek mythology, who gives rise to the passion of love in human heart, “the virgin had disarmed’’ means the love inflaming brand of Cupid. The last line of this sonnet is so much significant which may often be quoted to show the profundity of the passion of love. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Emily Dickinson’s Poem: ‘Hope is the Thinking With Feathers’ –An Analytical Study
‘Hope is the Thing with ‘Feathers’ is a poem by Emily Dickinson. In this poem the poetess, as a bright optimist, says about ‘hope’ ascribing human attributes to it.
The poetess begins the poem with a metaphor and says that ‘hope’ is a ‘thing’ i.e. a bird with feathers. As a bird perches on the high spot so hope perches in the soul. And taking rest in the soul it expresses herself through human activities. In other words to say, ‘hope’ sings without words and it ceases in no time at all.
Secondly, the poetess invokes some imagery to show the strength of hope in the human soul. She says that no ‘gale’ or ‘storm’ (that means sorrow or difficulty) can silence the bird or no sufferance can suppress it, the soul always keeps hope alive and warm. By saying so, the poetess wants to imply that though difficulties come to her life yet her hope remains the same.
Thirdly, the poetess says that hope never fades away from her soul. In the time of distress and even in times of calamity, hope remains intact in her soul. It never asks of any guard from the poetess. Hope, itself is enough to guard itself. The poetess says:
‘I have heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea—
Yet never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.’
Thus the poet shows that hope is a strong thing in the human soul.
The poem is worthy of being praised because of its imagery. The whole poem is a garland of imageries and the imageries suit the theme of the poem very appropriately. The very opening line of the poem is a metaphor that surprises her readers and this metaphor along with the imageries that follow it has shown how fertile the poet’s imagery are.
To include it is to say that this poem is one of Emily Dickinson’s best typical poems both in style and theme. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
The Poetry of Lu Xun-An Evaluation
Lu Xun (1881-1936) was a Chinese revolutionary, thinker and writer. He took an active part, in his early days, in the democratic revolution of 1911, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty, ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. As a result of this revolution, the monarchy came to an end and democracy was established. But though democracy was established, yet China remained far away from the modern outlook in the socio-economic policy. Along with it, China remained a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country. Though China turned to a democratic country through the Revolution of 1911, yet with the establishment of democracy, another inter-revolution began in favour of communism and socialism. Under Mao Tse Tung’s leadership, the communist moment broke out in China. Lu Xun became an eager and warm supporter of this new communist moment and took his pen as a weapon in this struggle and became a writer. As a writer, he became a short story-teller, essayist and poet. All his writings are replete with revolutionary ideals. First, he achieved glory as a story-teller and essayist. But sometimes he wrote poems after the request of his friends. His poems are few in number nearly seventy poems have been in existence. He wrote poems on the realistic theme in both old and new styles, using rhyme and prosody. The language of his poems is very simple and easily comprehensible. As he wrote as a weapon of revolution, so are his poems. The themes of his poems are single—love to his motherland and in doing so he portrays his love for nature, love for men but whatsoever he wrote or what his themes were he displayed the high ideals of a great revolution. He used common symbols to symbolize the old and new. Many of his poems are elegiac in tone and tenets.
Though he portrays Nature in his poems, yet they are not romantic. He only creates an atmosphere in portraying his revolutionary ideals. He writes:
”Under a high and southern sky the leaves fall by the lake;
Eye-brow colour and rouge now stain the warriors’ robes
The wanderer by the water’s edge may no longer chant his songs.
Amid the endless autumn waves, the Elegy is lost.”
Sometimes the objects of Nature are portrayed vividly, but this portrayal bears a revolutionary motive as he says that the sweet-smelling of the plant is for the joy of the revolutionaries. He says:
”The orchid still shows its pureness of heart on a well-hidden crag
And yet we must spare this sweet-smelling plant for the travelling stranger.”
Nature becomes the symbol of revolution: both of the anti-revolutionary authorities and of the revolutionary leaders. He says:
”Thorns cover the plain,
War-clouds fill the skies.
Few enjoy the tender spring
And many a voice is silent
Drunken tyranny rules the world
And some men change their tune
After the havoc of storm
Trees and flowers are bare.”
Through the quoted lines, the poet shows that though democracy was established in China after 1911. Yet the aims and policy of administration remained old. In the real sense, democracy was not established in the socio-economic condition of China. So being disgusted at the old tyrannical ruling system, many took the side of Mao Tse Tung and rendered their support to his revolution for a communist and socialist china.
The poet glorifies the brave generals of the communist movement in China after democracy was established. He, glorifying so, encourages the revolution as:
”The land of Yu has many a flying general:
Survivors shelter in their wretched huts.
When pools reflect our visitors at night,
We toast our goodly rulers in plain water.”
During the struggle period in favour of Communism and Socialism in China, many revolutionaries were killed by the ruling leaders. Some had been exiled; but the poet hoped that the leaders in exile would spread the movement in time and thus he said so, to encourages the revolutionary soldiers.
”But all, in the end, was smothered by wormwood
Only the exile can now spread fragrance.”
The poet is optimistic that the struggle for communist, socialist China must be a success and the hour is drawing near. He shows it by a symbol of cock,
”The cock-crow at midnight makes me more lonely;
I rise and see the plough point to dawn.”
The poet is determined to save his motherland and has gone to a unanimous union with others to meet their goals. He says:
”As all of us agree to save the nation,
Surely we should not tear the show apart
Don’t make the comrades all feel sick at heart.”
Thus almost all his poems bear only one goal, directly or indirectly, that is to make or encourage or to add spirit to the heart of the revolutionaries so that a communist, socialist modern China might be built erelong.
His many poems are elegiac. He mourns for these fighters who are killed by the ruling authorities. In mourning for the killed the poet draws the attention of the fighters and adds spirit to the morale of the revolutionary soldiers.
”Now that we both are torn apart forever.
Never will I hear you talk again.
When old friends disappear like clouds
I too am no more than dust.”
The poetry of Lu Xun is generally short like lyric conveying only one idea. Poetically his poems are weak like that of Mao Tse Tung’s. While poetry becomes a medium of propaganda then the beauty of art in it deteriorates and so is visible in Lu Xun poetry. But Lu Xun’s poems are superior to that of Mao Tse Tung. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
The Poetry of Mao Tse Tung-An Evaluation
Throughout the world, Mao Tse Tung is well known as a great communist revolutionary political leader of the twentieth-century China under whose leadership a westernized modern communist China was built. But besides this, very few people know that he was a great thinker and a poet also. But as the man was so was his poetry. In brief to say, his poetry is nothing but the diary of this revolution. His poetry reflects his thoughts and ideals as a revolutionary communist leader. As a revolutionary leader, he had to wander about here and there leading his guerilla force so he wrote his poems encouraging the morale of his guerilla soldiers. His soldiers as well as the supporters of his revolution sang his poems as slogans. His poems are written in simple language free from the trammel of figures and adoration. Sometimes he uses symbols in his poetry that stand to show the age-gold China and China of his revolutionary ideals. In his poetry, he shows his love for freedom, love for man, and love for his motherland. Sometimes he portrays nature in his poetry, but his political and revolutionary ideals preoccupy so much that his portrayal of nature withers under his ideals.
In the poem entitled Changsha he shows that everything and every being of Nature enjoys freedom except only man. So he says:
”Under freezing skies a million creature
contend in freedom
Brooding over this immensity
I ask, on this boundless land
Who rules over man’s destiny?”
In the poem, Chin Kang Shan Mao Tse Tung shows his victory over the supporters of the age-old traditional system of socioeconomic condition of China. He says:
”Bellow the hills our flag and banners
Above the hilltops sound our bugles and drums
The foe encircles us thousands-strong
Steadfastly we stand our ground.
Already our defense is iron-clad,
Now our wills unite like a fortress.
From Hung Yang Chich roars the thunder of guns
Word comes the enemy has fled into the night.”
As Mao Tse Tung was a revolutionary in favour of communism and socialism. So he was vehemently obstructed by the anti-communist political ruling party. But, he by means of guerilla force led the rebellion against the ruling power and one by one he conquered the land. So he wrote:
”Red banners leap over the Ting River
Straight to Langyen and Shang hang
We have reclaimed part of the golden bowl
And land is being shared out with a will.”
His poems are the documents of his revolution and whenever he heard of the victory of his Revolutionary Army, he wrote poetry or song on the victory to encourage his fighters. In the poem, ‘On the Kung Chang Road’, he wrote:
”Yesterday the order was given,
One hundred thousand workers and
Peasants march on Kian.”
In another poem entitled Against the Second Encirclement Campaign he wrote about the victory of his revolutionary force:
”In fifteen days we have marched seven hundred li
Crossing misty Kan waters and green Fukien hills
Rolling back the enemy as we would a mat”
Mao Tse Tung thought rightly that everything turned fair through revolution. He wrote in the poem Tapoti:
”A furious battle once raged here,
The village walls, bullet-scarred,
Now adorn hill and pass
And make them doubly fair.”
Mao Tse Tung was determined to reach his goal. He thought that his revolution would be successful and that communist China would be built soon. He said:
”If we fail to reach the Great wall
We are not men
Today we hold the long cord in our hands
When shall we bind the Grey Dragon?”
Mao Tse Tung criticized the rulers of China who had throughout the ages remained stagnant with old thoughts. He says:
”The night was long and dawn came slow to the Crimson land.
For a century demons and monsters whirled in a wild dance
And the five hundred people were disunited.
Now the cock has crowed and all under heaven is bright
Here is music from all our peoples from Yutin too
And the poet is inspired as never before.”
In the revolution, many young women of China participated in favour of a communist China. Mao Tse Tung praised them in his poetry as:
”China’s daughters have high-aspiring minds,
They love their battle array, not silks and satins.”
The poet was sure that the goal of his revolution might be achieved soon if the revolutionaries went on their goal earnestly. He wrote:
”So many deeds cry out to be done,
And always urgently;
The world rolls on
Ten thousand years are too long,
Seize the day, seize the hour.”
As a revolutionary, he was an optimist that erelong he would reach his goal. He thought that everything was possible to achieve after a strong will. He said:
”We can clap the moon in the Ninth Heaven
And seize turtles deep down in the five seas;
We’ll return amid triumphant song and laughter.
Nothing is hard in this world
If you dare to scale the heights. ”
Thus the poems of Mao Tse Tung are nothing but the running documents of his revolution in favour of a westernized modern communist China along with its objectives which are written to be sung as slogans to add spirit to the morale of the revolutionaries.
His poems became popular among the peasants, labours and soldiers who sought revolution and change of their socio-economic conditions. But his poetry lacks in real poetic appeal as his poetry is less imaginative, less figurative but more realistic bearing the stamp of the objectives of the revolution.
But to conclude it is to say that though his poetry is poetically weak yet as a realistic poet of revolution he is undoubtedly a greater one. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
The Poem ‘You Say’ –An Analytical Study
‘You Say’ is a short poem in which the poet says about his condition as a poet. In other words, the poem deals with the characteristics of a poet which is typical. It is written in free verse (these lines are called emotional lines which are arranged after the waves of emotion)
In this poem the poet admits himself as a poet not because of that he writes poems but because of his conditions that correspond with that of a poet in general. The poet thinks that poets are generally poor in wealth. Poverty is their ever mate. They are generally indifferent to worldly affairs and interested in spiritual affairs. They are melancholic and often live in hunger. The poet’s condition is typical; poor, melancholic, lonely. He has only a room where he sleeps, thinks, reposes, weeps, smiles, reads and writes. In other words, to say, he has a few limited assets. Like a well to do man, he has not sufficient space to use different functions.
The poet believes that as the poets are different in intention, thought and outlook on life so they are meditative and melancholic for which they have little time to take care of the mortal body and so they are seemed indifferent to worldly affairs. So is the poet of the poem. He has little time to take care of his body for which his hair turns grey untimely. It is also a sign of meditative nature. Like the poets, in general, the poet of this little poem spends his hours: day and night in hunger. But, it does not mean that he does not work; even though he works harder with woods and stone but he does not know any foul means to earn enough money. The poet is so meditative that he keeps vigil at night while others are asleep. The poet often wears a pair of hackneyed dress.
The poem expresses the characteristics of those who are poets. These characteristics are typed and true to life. In other words, the poet’s observation of a poet is realistic. The poet of the present poem may not write good poems or he may not be recognized as a poet but it is true that his conditions: economic, physical, and mental are like that of a poet so one can call him a poet.
The poet’s arguments brought about here is poetic as well as realistic. Poets are generally meditative and philosophic. If we study the lives of the great poets of the world; we see that they are so.
The poem is easy and even a general reader can understand the theme. It is free from any kind of figure of speech. Words employed in this poem are also easy and common to everyday speech.
At last, it would be right to comment that though this poem is easy and simple yet its meaning is very significant.0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Treatment of the Theme of Oppression in Literature
There are many writers throughout the world who write on the themes of oppression, racism, class discrimination etc. Among them, some writers write from their personal experiences of oppression and some write sympathizing with the people who become the victims of oppression. There are differences between the two groups of writers in outlook and treatment of the subject matter. In the first group, there are many writers like Hira Bansode, Marge Piercy, Eunice De Souza, Joytirao Phule, Omprakash Valmiki, and many others. In the second group, there are Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Virginia Woolf, and many others.
Though both the groups write on the same theme of oppression, yet their writings differ in attitude and outlook towards life. For example, Rabindranath’s ‘The Exercise Book’ is a short story where he has portrayed the sufferance of a little child named Uma. In portraying her Tagore presented the events in such a way that can easily draw the sympathy of his readers. Likewise the writings of Virginia Woolf, the writings of Premchand were the pictures of the oppressed seeing which the readers show pity for them.
On the other hand Maya Angelou, an American-Negro female poet was an exceptional one. He composed many poems on the theme of oppression after her personal experience. In her personal life, she had been a victim of oppression many times. At the age of eight, she was sexually harassed by one of her mother’s boyfriend. Again one day during her childhood, she happened to go to a white dentist, but the doctor refused to treat her because she was a black one. In addition to these, she was often raped that forced her to be a premature mother of a child at the age of sixteen.
Maya Angelou, when took up the pen in her hand, determined to depict her personal experiences in writing. But her outlook and style of representation were unique and energetic. In the poem ‘Still, I Rise’ she gives no account of how he was treated during her childhood, instead, she defies the oppressors with extraordinary force and boldness. Here Maya is outright in revealing her inner hatred, reaction and revolts against the oppressors. But Marge Piercy’s poem ‘Breaking Out’ is lack of such vigour and determination. 0 0 0
World Poetry Criticism
Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:
- Advertisement Writing
- Amplification Writing
- Note Making
- Paragraph Writing
- Notice Writing
- Passage Comprehension
- The Art of Poster Writing
- The Art of Letter Writing
- Report Writing
- Story Writing
- Substance Writing
- School Essays Part-I
- School Essays Part-II
- School English Grammar Part-I
- School English Grammar Part-II..
- Poetry Criticisms-Gale
- Popular Poetry Criticisms Books
- Literary Criticisms
- A Defence of Poetry
- Poetry and the Criticism of Poetry
- Reading, Writing and analysing Poetry
- Poetry Study Guide
- New Criticisms