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Final Exam Essay

1371 words - 6 pages

Baudelaire and Rimbaud use their intense literary works to criticize the bourgeoisie time period. Many changes were taking place during this time period. The Second Industrial Revolution was occurring and the economy was changing. The bourgeoisie people represented the middle class that became more politically and economically powerful. They demonized the lower classes by promoting their own culture and ways of living. Bourgeois women became emblems of family’s wealth and morality. They stayed at home, were modest, obedient, and their husbands could afford to pamper them. There was also an economic and social transformation in speed and sale of goods during this time period. Hand production switched to machine production and there was a higher concentration of factory workers in the cities. New machinery processes and trade unions increased. Baudelaire and Rimbaud use various ways to criticize this time period and all the changes that were changing society.
In Baudelaire’s “To the Reader” and “A Carcass”, intense and vulgar symbolism and imagery are used to level at the 19th century bourgeois society. His poem, “To the Reader”, was written as a preface to “Flowers of Evil”. Not only is this a collection of his poems, but the title has a deeper meaning. A flower has elegant petals, a stem, and roots that make up a complete flower. The flower petals are what a person can see with their own eyes, but the petals stem from the roots that are underground. When analyzing “To the Reader”, the opening stanzas represent the flower petals and the corruption of the people. The central stanzas represent the root stem of the flower, which feeds into the people’s decadence. Lastly, the final stanzas represent the root of the flower. The root is hidden and not seen, but it is where trouble arouses. What is the root of the people’s problems?
Baudelaire’s imagery expresses his dissatisfaction about the hopelessness in people and how they give in to the bourgeoisie way of living. In this time period, “Ennui” represented the pathological condition that the people were in. The bourgeoisie people were in power and the lower classes were bored with trying to resist. People gave in to this immoral way of living. The “ennui”, or “boredom” of the people, is the root of evil. By becoming bored with trying to resist and simply giving in, it was just making the bourgeoisie people more powerful. In the beginning of the poem it says, “Die drooling on the deliquescent tits, mouthing the rotten orange we suck dry” (19-20).This imagery of sucking on the tit of a whore is very strong and violent. This was against the bourgeoisie time period. Another example would be: “Gangs of demons are boozing in our brain –ranked, swarming, like a million warrior-ants”.(21-22) Once again, this imagery of demons taking over our brain is brutal and is not fitting to the bourgeoisie way of living. Baudelaire uses this imagery to reject this time period and to also show the horrific affect boredom...

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