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Style Analysis Essay: Ogden Nash

1003 words - 4 pages

In his own fantastical world, where words are play-things and sanity is a bygone, sits Ogden Nash atop his throne. Anyone who says that he is just another poet is gravely unaware, and those unaware should then find themselves asking: “Well, the what is Ogden Nash?”. Whimsical, bold, crazy. That is Ogden Nash. To go into further detail, Ogden is risk taker, a word maker, and perhaps a world shaker, often using controversial topics and makeshift rhymes to add intrigue and humor to his works. A fan of nonsense, the late Ogden Nash often took seemingly typical literary devices and adding hidden depth to what they mean. Some of the more notable examples are his use of repetition and rhyming, but a less obvious case would be his subtle touches of alliteration. All of these are few in the long list of literary devices he uses to get a deeper meaning across to the reader.

To start, the aforementioned author was fond of repeating. Sometimes just one word, other times entire clauses, he even goes as far to repeat components as obscure as ideas. One of the most prominent cases of all of the former is in his poem “Adventures of Isabel” in which, he repeats the name Isabel numerous times along with the lines “Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,/Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,”. In those examples it appears that Ogden simply wanted to emphasize a.) that the poem is about her, Isabel, and b.) that she is not afraid of the problems she encounters in her “adventures.”
But, on closer inspection of the poem, the reader may begin to notice that not only are these ideals where this, presumably, little girl defeats these horrifying fiends and walks away unperturbed, blatantly insane, but they are also completely made-up. Not only by Nash, but by the girl as well. He uses his own imagination to create characters’ imagination. He does this a little more clearly in this example than in most, by emphasizing how unbelievably brave that Isabel is. This is in no way the most confusing use of repetition used by the author, as can be seen in the poem “Tableau at Twilight”
when he introduces a child holding an ice cream cone, then proceeds to refer to him as the “coniferous child” multiple times. Raising question about whether the author is just using clever ways of referring to the child or if he is making a deeper, possibly personal statement. Also in this poem, he refers to himself in the first person and continues to emphasize that he is alone, maybe alluding to the fact that he could be sitting alone writing a play or script of some sort as he uses the jargon of a playwright in two lines. First in the line “Enter a child and an ice-cream cone.” and second to say the child is leaving in the line “Exit child with remains of cone.” Alas, these are not the only confusing parts to this poem.

In the poem of subject, not only does he use...

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