Prediction Of War From The Poem "The Shark" By E.J. Pratt:

748 words - 3 pages

The poem, "The Shark", by E.J. Pratt seems to be about the simple subject of a shark. However, considering Pratt's childhood and times he lived in, the poem represents far deeper meanings. Edwin John Pratt, born on the fourth of February 1882 in Newfoundland , Canada, and wrote this peom 5 years after the end of WWI. E.J. Pratt received his education from St. John's Methodist College, Victoria College, University of Toronto, Victoria University, University of Toronto. E.J. Pratt worked many jobs, some of which include: teacher, draper's apprentice, assistant minister. Pratt's education and experiences various jobs gives Pratt a very expansive view of the society he lived in. Furthermore, living through the chaos of World War One, which began in 1914, and ended in a uneasy truce in 1918 gave the basis for the poem "The Shark". With this in mind, the poem contains numerous underlying connotations regarding the uneasiness of the post WWI and pre-WWII era.In 1914, with the assassination of the Arch-Bishop Franz Ferdinand, the First World War began. After 4 years, on November 11th, 1918, an uneasy peace was reached; the Central Powers (Germany, Hungary, Ottoman Empire) was forced to sign a treaty. However, with the German economy in shambles, and the citizens of Germany unhappy, WWII soon erupted in 1934. With Pratt's work experiences and schooling, Pratt would have realized the flaws of the treaty and with the poem "The Shark", it reflects the uneasy peace after WWI.Initial reaction to the end of WWI, also know as the Great War, was stunned relief. After 4 years, and over 10 million casualties, the first true global war finally concluded. No where in history, were their deaths to this degree. Pratt, with his education and work experiences would have observed this, providing the basis for his poem "The Shark". The poem itself is about a shark, swimming in and out of aharbor. At first the shark swims "leisurely"(Pratt) and "Stirred not a bubble"(Ibid), indicating that the war has ended, and peace has finally been attained. Although the shark swam relaxed, it is still a shark, and Pratt's choice of diction, words such as "sheet-iron/knife-edge/smoke" (Ibid), showed that however...

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