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Poems Analysis and Comparison: The Fly - Paper Example

8 pages
2152 words
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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There are some poems where the author uses the fly as the subject matter. These verses include The Fly by William Blake, The Fly by Karl Shapiro, The Fly by Walter De La Mare and The Fly by Ogden Nash. The poems use the fly to showcase different standings and aspects of life. The drive of this paper is to explore, evaluate the above forms and equate them to see if there are any resemblances in the representation of the fly and literature used. As we know, almost everyone has had an experience with these little creatures as they are everywhere. They mostly disturb a lot when its hot and when we are outdoors. Mostly, they have an annoying nature especially when they land on your food or glass of juice, and we find ourselves swiping at them. Some of these poets advocate for proper treatment of these creatures while others like Karl Shapiro shows that killing them brings no qualms as they are annoying.

The poem The Fly by William Blake consists of five stanzas each stanza with four lines. It depicts ordinary incidents that occur in our daily lives which most of the times we give less attention. In the poem, a fly gets killed by accident when the person swipes his hand to chase it away thus provoking a trail of thoughts which sum up the content of the poem. The aim was not to kill the fly but to pursue it due to the disturbance, but the automatic movement ends up killing it. The author of the poem compares the fly with his life and comes up with a poem about the thoughts in his head. He further expounds on the topic by exploring the interconnection between life and death. As a poet, the author is unique as he handwrites his pieces rather than typing them (Blake, 2008). He is also famous for his religious views and the poem The Fly depict this side of the author too.

In the first stanza, the author uses I as the thoughtless person that kills the fly. This persona can be Blake himself or another person who fits the description. At first, the persona feels and thinks nothing about his actions after killing the fly. Nevertheless, an instant later, he gets a train of thoughts after thinking about what he has done, and that forms the basis of the second stanza. He carries his thoughts to the third verse where he shines more light on his thoughts on the similarity between the flys life and his life. The poem depicts the life of the man as full of joy. That gets shown in the stanza where he says that he always sing, dance and drinks without any moments of stress. On the other hand, the life of the fly revolves around a little of playing, eating and drinking as the writer tells us in the poem. From the description of the subjects life as well as the authors experience, we see the interconnection and the reason why the author says both live their lives the same way. However, he is the one who kills the fly, and that raises thought questioning what would happen if his life ended suddenly just like the fly.

The poems enter a broader world of thought in the in the fourth stanza when the verses start exploring the relationship between life and death. I, thinks that his life holds no meaning mainly because he has never done any valuable thing in his life. To him, living was all about satisfying his worldly desires. Despite that, he acknowledges that he has the capability of doing more if he just put some effort into it. In the last stanza he agrees that just like the life of the fly, his life too means nothing. Just like the fly, there is nothing to feel sorry for when his life to comes to an end. Unlike other poems, the setting of this verse is general, and we cannot pinpoint the location of the poet during the trail of his thoughts.

When it comes to the persona in the poem, the author employs a first-person point of view by using I as the active participant who kills the fly. In some parts, I consider himself insignificant while in others, he puts himself in the shoes of the fly. We can see that in the third stanza where he fuses with the fly and I starts referring to the fly. The poem showcases various themes and how the author understands and explains them. These topics include the nature of life, the understanding of death, the balance of life and death and lastly respecting every creatures life. The essence of life is the central theme of the poem, and it is as if the poet wants us to think deeply about what our lives mean to us. The balance of life and death theme helps in showing us that we need this balance to have happy lives both when we are alive and after death. In the last topic, the fly can also indicate satire to represent human life, and thats why all creatures are significant no matter their nature. We should also learn to think first before acting to avoid making terrible mistakes.

The poem uses both a thoughtful and gloomy tone mainly when the author writes about life and death. The tones are dominant from the start to the end. The poem has a masculine rhyme which consists one syllable. One particular literary device used in the poem is imagery. The descriptions create a vivid image in the reader's mind and make it easy to internalize and understand the poem (Leech, 2014). It also uses similes, metaphors, personification, symbolism, paradox, synecdoche and movement.

Another poet that uses the fly as the subject in a poem is Karl Shapiro in his poem also called The Fly. He shows a graphical representation of the insect through embellishing exaggerations and shows deep hatred for it. In this poem, a lot of figurative languages such as similes, overstatements, and embellishments, and metaphors get used to developing the theme (Douglas, 2003). From the poem, it is clear that humans will always use different forms of justifications such as exaggerating the power and flaws of the foe to justify brutal killings of their enemies.

Unlike the first poem, the perspective in this poem indicates a human with a lot of disgust and irritation about the activities of the fly. All this disgust amount to the speaker ending up killing the fly at the end of the poem. In the first poem, the author talks about valuing the life of all creatures and regrets killing the fly. However, in this piece, the author hates the fly and has no qualms about ending its life thus showing conflicting emotions. This poem does not showcase the perspective of the fly as some of the others. Instead, the author uses his point of view to show the daily activities of the fly during its short lifespan. By using this point of view, the author allows us to connect more with him and what he is trying to say. Shapiro understands that most people have had at least one bad experience with the fly and thus the use of the right words will draw the right emotions from the readers.

To create a better connection with his audience, Karl Shapiro employs the use of loathing, hating and distasteful tone. Another figurative tool he uses is a creative rhyme scheme. The poems rhyme scheme consists six stanzas each with eight lines and each stanza end with the A-B-B-A pattern (Shapiro, 1942). In each verse, the first and the third line hold his most captivating thoughts. This way, the reader is motivated to read the whole stanza and connect with the poem. From his rhyme, Shapiro creates an image of a fly coming closer to you, disturbing you with its buzzing and patching anywhere it wants then flying away and repeating the same thing once again.

Just like in the poem The Fly by William Blake, Shapiro uses some particular literary devices to write and present information in the poem. Some of the literary methods used in this piece include similes and excellent diction. Use of analogies in this aspect help in increasing the general disgust we readers have on flies (Richardson, 2000). For example, in line sixteen, the speaker says And inlay maggots like a jewel. That line depicts the way flies lay the eggs in dead bodies thus using then as a breeding ground, and that is disgusting. Another example is in line 12 where he compares the sound produced by the fly while flying around to sounding your buzzer like an urchin toy. The readers want us to think about the disturbing nature of some children toys and the sounds they produce and relate them to the flies buzz. From the poem, it is clear that Shapiros strength is mainly in his diction. For example, in the first stanza, Shapiro writes O hideous little bat, the size of a snot. He knows that people hate bats and find them creepy especially their association with the night and bloodsucking and they avoid them at all costs. The words are powerful and the reader has no option but to hate the fly too (Semino Elena and Gerard Steen, 2008). In conclusion, we see that the speaker will feel no remorse for killing the fly but will be somewhat proud of it showcasing the powerless nature of the fly and its short life cycle.

The third poem under analysis also encompasses the fly as the subject. This poem got written by Walter de la Mare (De la Mare, 1942). The poem has three stanzas each with four lines. It also has a good and regular rhyme scheme that makes it enjoyable to read again and again. It is short and precise. It showcases the point of view in which the fly sees the world. In this poem, the fly symbolizes tiny creatures just like the fly in the poem by William Blake. Most of the lines in each stanza act as examples of how the fly sees the particular object. To it, rosebuds become feather beds, a loaf of bread becomes a hill, a dewdrop looks like a looking-glass and a few other more examples. Due to their small size, the creatures see things as very big. Some of the everyday objects we come across in our activities might look very beautiful to these little creatures. The poem does not restrict the thoughts to any particular purpose and they can be either human-made or natural. One of the themes portrayed by the author is perception.

Another theme of the poem is enlightenment through defamiliarization. Some authors consider the tone as whimsical, but the poem still passes its intended message. As a reader, it made me pause and reconsider the beauty of the simplest and smallest of things. The poet also employs his excellent word diction to create the objects that a fly views as gigantic also become strange and unfamiliar to them. According to him, we human view a rose flower as a very beautiful thing and admires it a lot. But when a bee sees the rose flower and the thorns on it, it considers a weapon that can harm it. That is because it is rather small and helpless as compared to us humans. From that, we get to look at the impact of perception on the way we view things. Positively perceiving things and objects make them beautiful to us and vice versa. We can always change on how we see something by thinking positively about it. He uses figurative language such as metaphors and similes to spice up the poem (Shen, 2008). The tone of this poem takes the reader into a world of fantasy. When you read this poem, you acquire a completely different outlook on the world. Walter de la Mare applies imagery and vivid description to pull the writer into his world.

The last poem about the fly in this analysis and comparison got written by Ogden Nash. It is the shortest poem here with just one stanza which includes two lines. The two lines are God in his wisdom made the fly and and he forgot to tell us why. The poem does not beat around the bush and states the subject matter directly (Celniker, 2000). Many critics have reviewed the poetry as short and crisp showing it serves its purpose in its way. Looking at this poem, it is evident that the poet has good word diction. Most of the times, it is hard to use such few words and show the intended meaning. The author does not understand why God created the fly in the first place as it serves no purpose in the world. He does not acknowledge whether it is a nuisa...

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