A Comparison Of "Jabberwocky" And "Hysteria"

1727 words - 7 pages

Poetry and Function

The consolidation of an artist's thoughts emerges in many ways. Through poetry, writers express themselves in the most lyrical and, more often, most concise way. All have carefully picked over the diction and structure of their pieces in order to precisely articulate their intention. The conventional forms, such as a sonnet, leave the poet with certain methods to emphasize their meanings. Nowadays, free verse is the more popular type of poem, as it gives the poet leave to mess with or completely disregard grammar, pattern, and rhyme. The poem, “Jabberwocky”, by Lewis Carroll is a ballad with regular rhyme scheme and meter, and while it is in a conventional form, its words are anything but. Conversely, T.S. Eliot's poem “Hysteria” is written like prose, with no rhyme. Relative to its title, Eliot uses free verse to closely emulate the emotions being conveyed. Both poets focus on crafting their poems through the formation of words and sentences, creating impacting works of art.
“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll is a well known poem from his famous work, Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The piece is a tale about the slaying of a monster called “the Jabberwock” (line 5). In a fairy tale manner, the story of a young boy unfolds. He is told of various monsters to be wary of, and then goes on a quest to defeat his “maxome foe”(line 10), the Jabberwock. In apparent ease, he slays the monster and brings back its head in triumph.
Carroll uses a conventional ballad form to construct the poem. He makes a traditional combination of an ABAB rhyme scheme, quatrains, a repeated chorus, and dialogues in his ballad. The first stanza is the chorus of the ballad, and the last stanza is its repetition. It sandwiches the poem. Next, the dialogue stanzas are the second and the sixth, directly before and after the first and last stanzas respectively. By doing this, the climax of the poem is directly in the middle. The stanza at the center is thus in a spotlight; the arrival of the Jabberwock is highlighted. The poem's ABAB rhyme scheme fits perfectly with the quatrains, and with steady iambic tetrametric meter, reads well. In the fifth and sixth stanzas, only the 'B' lines rhyme. The effect is an emphasis on the words chosen in lieu of rhyme. “One, two! One, two! And through and through/ The vorpal blade went snicker-snack” (ll. 17-18). The rhyme within the first line gives a sense of excitement along with the exclamation marks, and the second line provides imagery with the sword. Carroll also uses onomatopoeia to further envision the sword's movement. The sixth stanza, all dialogue, is a happy exclamation of praise and joy. Since it is dialogue, full of cheer, rhyme is discarded to give it a more real feel.
While the structure of the poem is conservative, the words Carroll chooses (and makes up) are, at first glance, all nonsense and oddities. There are numerous words that are not in an official...

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