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"Imagery Is The Essential Component In Poetry". Discuss The Appropriateness Of This Claim With Reference To Two Poets Studied.

1777 words - 7 pages

"Imagery is the essential component in poetry".Discuss the appropriateness of this claim with reference to two poets studied.Imagery in poetry gives it depth, interest and feeling, in short it makes it come alive. There are various ways of doing this with imagery; with straightforward descriptive writing or using metaphors(of which there are a few different kinds), similes and symbolism. In order to show the absolute appropriateness of the claim that imagery is an essential component in poetry, I will be using examples from the work of Philip Larkin and Thom Gunn. The specific poems I will be referring to are Larkins 'Toads Revisited' and 'The Whitsun Weddings' and Gunn's 'Nasturtium' and 'Cafeteria in Boston', but I will also be bringing in lines from other poems by these poets. These poets have very different ways of incorporating imagery in their work. Philip Larkin is more unobtrusive in his use, although a close reading of his work shows how frequently he exploits this component; Thom Gunn is more obvious and uses it with great dexterity.Larkins poetry not only names the things familiar to us in our everyday world, it also endows phenomena with a symbolic resonance. At a simple level, a toad becomes a symbol of work: it squats oppressively. In the first two verses of 'Toads Revisited' the reader gets the impression that the persona is lying on the grass in the sunshine, he refers to the playground noise as 'Blurred'. Here he is making use of the Synaesthetic Metaphor which transfers meaning from one domain of sensory perception to another. The descriptive used is normally associated with the sense of sight not hearing, but by using it in this context it gives emphasis to the feeling that the persona is getting away from everything by being in the park. The noise is not distinct, where he lies it is peaceful. He goes on to describe the people he sees in the park after stating that the lazing in the park does not suit him. The descriptions he offers of the people who pass are derogatory and give the reader a strong sense of the persona's disapproval, for exampleHare-eyed clerks with the jitters(Larkin,1964,pg18)by using the term 'Hare-eyed' it reinforces the kind of image he wants the reader to see, as he uses it in conjunction with 'jitters'. You are able to picture the clerks displaying the same flighty characteristics of a Hare. Using a dehumanising metaphor reflects the contempt the persona feels for these men. This feeling is reiterated as he goes on to describe their day, which he manages succinctly by using descriptions of activities suggestive of certain points in the day,Watching the bread delivered,The sun by clouds covered,The children going home;Think of being them, (Larkin,1964,Pg18,verse6)It also emphasises the emptiness of their day. The seventh verse brings this feeling to a head and the poignancy of the scene he describes is brought out strongly by the simplicity of the imagery,Turning over their failuresBy some bed of...

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