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Poetry Analysis Essay Example

Posted by admin as Example papers

Poetry Analysis Essay on “The Shark”:

In Pratt’s “The Shark”, the use of the metaphor is not only predominant, but very obvious as well. Throughout the text he uses this device along with other elements to create diverse binary situations, which became one after further analysis.

This poem is unique due to the fact that it blatantly describes the metaphorical meaning in such a way that it could be taken either way by the reader if read literally. The title of this piece is not only a persuasion of the reader’s mindset, but a clue to the underlying meaning as well.

To express this double identity Pratt used several distinct methods to direct the reader’s thoughts towards this second meaning. “His fin, /Like a piece of sheet-iron,” appears in the first stanza. This, Pratt’s only simile, begins to describe this “shark” as if it was inert, almost machine like. He describes the motions of this creature as smooth, and precise like a slice from the “knife-edge” of the fin. Already, Pratt has given the reader a choice or a possibility of the identity of this being, and the idea that the “shark” is a boat becomes more apparent.

In the second stanza the mood is shifted to a more mechanical tone. The sentences are cut off abruptly, each proceeding line yet another bit of the visual description of this animal. The comparisons become more and more deliberate, allowing the reader to easily see a clear pattern. “And eyes of metallic grey, / Hard and narrow slit,” is a clear example of the comparison. This could be an actual animal, or just as probable; a boat. The flow of the text in this stanza starts somewhat soft, then promptly turns choppy and hard, again, suiting either object’s movement.

The title of this poem holds great persuasion over the reader. Before one even reads the poem they have a mindset of a living shark, or whatever they associate with sharks. By titling this piece as he did Pratt was able to describe the boat as he did without anything looking odd, but was also able to metaphorically describe this machine as a shark at same time. If the poem were called “The Machine” the persuasion to see the machine would take away from the “shark” aspect and the reader wouldn’t get the same analysis from it.

Pratt was able to grasp the reader’s attention with the title at first, and the proceeding text. Through his expressions he allowed the reader to understand that he was describing this “shark” but intending a boat. The descriptions of heartless metallic elements implied the mercilessness of this vessel as it took to sea, as to that of a shark. The ties that Pratt made between the two objects are blatantly visible throughout the text; however the implication that the shark is a boat comes with further understanding of the metaphorical meanings.

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