The Poetry Lesson By Don Maclennan

1615 words - 6 pages

In the poem “The Poetry Lesson” by Don Maclennan an ironic mood emerges. The poem is about an English poetry lecturer. He expresses his views and feelings on his lessons, how he might have impacted on the lives, altered the views and the challenges he has given his students. He states what he expects from his students. It is interesting to note that Don Maclennan is in fact a South African English poetry lecturer. I thus assume that this poem is a reflection on how he views himself and his students. I intend to give a detailed analysis of the poem, by defining the type of irony that occurs in the poem and commenting on the use of irony and the nature of the poems commentary on itself. I will give my interpretation of each stanza of the poem and indicate where the irony of a given situation is.

Irony as The New International Webster’s Pocket Dictionary describes it is:

A paradox between what happens and what does or might be expected to happen; a literary style often used to mock or satirize convention.
                                   (NIWPD 2002: 247)

The predominant form of irony in the poem is situational irony, which John Dury defined as:

A discrepancy between appearance or likelihood and an actual reality.                                        (Dury 1995: 140)

M.H. Abrams terms this type as structural irony, which is defined as:

The author, instead of using occasional verbal irony, introduces a structural feature that serves to sustain a duplex meaning and evaluation throughout the work.               (Abrams 2005: 135)

Both these definitions are accurate in describing the type of irony that is present in the poem. This will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.

Upon completion of reading the poem The Poetry Lesson, it can be said the title of the poem can be construed to be ironic. As this is a poem about a poetry lesson, I assume the poet will talk about a poetry lesson where he is analysing a poem instead he leaves this task to the students. The lecturer is supposed to be the one full of information and bring this into class but rather he says, “I bring my emptiness inside” (l. 10). This shows the irony that the teacher who should know most things about his/her subject knows very little. The reader is made to ponder about whether he is ignorant or just feigning it.

In stanza one we are introduced to the teacher. He seems to be an unhappy person as he speaks of sliding “into depression” (l. 1). We hear of him listening to “the redwing starlings in the tree” (l. 3) and the...

Find Another Essay On The Poetry Lesson by Don Maclennan

Commentary on 'The Lesson' by Roger McGough

822 words - 3 pages Commentary on ‘The Lesson’ by Roger McGoughRoger McGough the author of ‘The Lesson’ is a well respected British poet who is still writing poems and is a poetry performer today. His work has become so well recognized that he has received an O.B.E for his contributions to poetry from the Queen. McGough was born in Liverpool and attended school in the nineteen-forties and fifties during a time when corporal punishment was widely

The Failure of Technology in White Noise by Don Delillo

1050 words - 4 pages The Failure of Technology in White Noise by Don Delillo One particularly unfortunate trait of modern society is our futile attempt to use technology to immunize ourselves against the fear of death. The failure of technology in this regard is the general subject of Don Delillo''s book White Noise. Throughout this novel, technology is depicted as the ominous messenger of our common fate, an increasing sense of dread over loss of control of

The Lesson, by Toni Cade Bambara

1090 words - 4 pages Creative writing is a form of art. However, the need for consistency in creative writing is critical for the success of the underlying story. In summary, I did not like the story. This story is quite inconsistent and thus unpalatable as a creative piece. The Lesson was successful to some level especially in enacting the concept of equality in resource distribution. The success of this concept is clarified by the pricy toys. The most

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

2410 words - 10 pages The Piano Lesson by August Wilson: The Wisdom of the Ivories Can a treasured object of the past serve as a teacher for the future? Once people share the historical significance of it, an object can symbolize the overcoming of hardships of those lives in which it becomes a part. Therefore, it may indeed “instruct” future generations to glean wisdom from the past. August Wilson’s play The Piano Lesson centers on the trials and triumphs of a

"The Lesson" by Toni Cade Bambara

1829 words - 7 pages "The Lesson" by Toni Cade Bambara is a short story set in the inner part of New York City that gives the reader an opportunity to briefly see into the lives of children living devoid of wealth and education. It takes place in the early seventies, following the civil rights movement and during a time when the imbalance of wealth in terms of race was immense. Bamabara, through the use of narrative point of tone, symbols, setting and

Analysis: The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

2242 words - 9 pages August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, tells a story of a family haunted by the pain of their past and their struggle to find peace to move forward. The story begins with character Boy Willie coming up from the south visiting his sister Bernice. Boy Willie introduces the idea of selling the family’s heirloom, a piano, to raise enough money to buy the land on which his ancestors were enslaved. However, both Boy Willie and his sister Berniece own

The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

1318 words - 5 pages Sometimes growing up we experience situations that can change our perspective on life. Especially, when these situations happen unexpectedly; we are in disbelief. In Toni Cade Bambara short story “The Lesson” written in first person; it delves into the struggle of a girl, Sylvia, who realizes the economic and social injustice surrounding her. However, with the help of Miss Moore Sylvia comes to grip with this issue, and opts to overcome it. In

The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

1505 words - 6 pages “I got the power of death” (Wilson 29). You might recognize this quote from Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson by August Wilson an African American play writer. In this essay I am going to highlight some things about his life. According to (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia) August Wilson was born on April 27, 1945 in the town of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He was born Frederick August Kittel, Jr. Son of a German immigrant named Frederick August Kittel

Hope in The Lesson, by Toni Cade Bambera

1467 words - 6 pages in the cab to the toy store. The group horses around in the taxi while Sylvia is scheming a way to keep the money for herself. Miss Moore is aware of this when she gives them the money, lending the reader to believe this is all part of the lesson for the day; it is. By doing this she is showing the children the value of money and work. When they arrive at the store the lesson continues as they gawk at the toys in the window and find it hard to

Rich versus Poor in The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara

1759 words - 7 pages neighborhood has changed. They know the circumstances in which they live in and they have grown a bit from their stubborn habit of not accepting different beliefs. But towards the end of the story, Sylvia finally gives in and wants to learn the lesson from Miss Moore. "But Sylvia has more important things on her mind and ignores Sugar's challenge to race to Hascombs: 'We start down the block and she gets ahead which is O.K. by me cause I'm going to

Lessons from The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

949 words - 4 pages the past and the ghosts respond to the living because they speak from that very place. Works Cited Magill’s Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition © 2007 by Salem Press, Inc. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=MOL9830000328&site=lrc-live SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Piano Lesson.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. "The Piano Lesson." Drama for Students. Ed. David M

Similar Essays

The Fifth Agreement By Don Miguel Ruiz

2570 words - 10 pages “The Fifth Agreement” by Don Miguel Ruiz, Don Jose Ruiz and Janet Mills is presented as “A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery”. This book is a follow up to Don Miguel Ruiz’s 1997 book “The Four Agreements”. From a young age, I have always sought to categorize all aspects of my life. I have achieved this through the implementation of certain attributes. These include objectiveness, perfectionism, officiousness, industriousness and decisiveness

The Space Between By Don Aker

1969 words - 8 pages ”,and “Happiness should be priority”. These are all, what seems to be, the morals and message from the author. Through the eyes of Jace Antonakos- the main theme taht all must take from this story is “Live and let live” (136). That theme is the focal point of the whol plot. It brings up many entertaining and life-like moments. And with haveing many of those memnts creates an unforgetable and polished story, “The Space Between” by Don Aker. Works Cited Aker, Don. The Space Between. HarperCanada, 2009. Print.

"The Lesson" By Toni Bambara Essay

1350 words - 5 pages are astonished by the price, Mercedes is the only one who remains still. When the other children hang back in front of the toy store, Mercedes was the first one to enter. After the group returns to the neighborhood, she says, "I'd like to go there again when I get my birthday money." (pg. 94) She does not learn any lesson. Instead, she wants to be more like white people. Mercedes acts as a character foil to Sylvia; her behavior, attitudes, and

The Duality Of Truth In Don Quixote By Miguel Cervantes

3657 words - 15 pages characters. All these aspects profoundly change the traditional concept of truth and introduce a new notion of truth which has dual sides rather than a fixed single side. “At the heart of Don Quixote is the discrepancy between external appearance and internal perception.” says Wirfs-Brock (2). In that respect, Don Quixote is depicted as a character who is guided merely by his internal perceptions, disregarding external appearances. Most of