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Unseen Commentary On 'the Secret Life Of Books' By Stephen Edgar, From Corrupted Treasures, (1995)

736 words - 3 pages

The title 'The Secret Life of Books' personifies books. Not only do they have 'life' but it is secret. This tells us that humans are ignorant towards books, that we don't really look into them, that we don't appreciate them and that in a way books know more than us.The first stanza already brings up the main theme of the poem, the power books posses. Edgar tells us that they have 'stratagems' and plans, and that "They have turned the world". This brings up an interesting paradox, even though they can't move and they're "like invalids" they have so much power over us. This is later explained in line 4 when is says that "they do their work through others". This reveals to us the way in which they have so much power without even being able to move.The second stanza begins with a rhetorical question. This question makes the reader more interested in the topic Edgar is going to develop on. This question also brings up the idea of books coming to life and actually manipulating humans. On the other hand, the question could have been asked to make the reader think about the purpose of books, about how they may serve people so they can communicate and transmit their ideas to others. Edgar continues to personify books when he describes the library as their home, as the place they all get together to conspire against us. In the last line of this stanza the idea of books conspiring against humans in ways unknown to is us brought up. The reader may now commence to feel fear towards these books. Fear of the unknown.The last few words of the second stanza and the beginning of the third stanza shows the weakness of books. They can't do anything without us. The need us to go on with their plans. They use us. Edgar finished the second stanza with an incomplete sentence, making the user pass to the third stanza to finish that sentence at least. This technique he uses is later described in the third stanza when he shows us a reader being trapped by a book. He is telling...

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