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Comparing two ballads

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Introduction

Comparing two ballads A ballad is a story often set to song and here I am going to study in detail the make-up and difference between two very different ballads. For my first poem I chose 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', (The Beautiful Woman Without Thanks) by John Keats. Comparing to this I chose W.H. Auden's: 'MissGee'. Out of the selection I picked these two poems because of how strongly they attracted my attention; Keats' because it was so romantic and full of beauty and Auden's because of the simplistic life and pathos evoked by this unsightly woman who wished so much to be beautiful, loved or just noticed. They compare well using just this factor of beauty but I shall delve into them more to find other contrasts. Wyston Hugh Auden was born in York, England in 1907. He moved to Birmingham where he spent his childhood. In 1928 Auden published his first book of verse and his collection of 'Poems' that established him as an up and coming leader of literature. In 1939 he moved to the U.S.A. where he met his wife. Generally he is considered as the greatest poet of the twentieth century. He died in Vienna in 1973. The ballad 'Miss Gee' was the most modern poem of our selection and it stood out vividly because it was so shocking and had such a stale humor and irony to it. ...read more.

Middle

She says 'lead me not into temptation' because she feels guilt for not being thankful for who she is and for wishing someone like the vicar would love her. When she got sick the doctor commented that 'cancer is a funny thing, childless women get it and men when they retire, and it's as if there had to be some outlet for their foiled creative fire.' He meant that it was as if people who had not fulfilled what they wanted or they had an inability to do so, got cancer. Miss Gee died and the teacher took her to be examined by students who laughed disrespectfully at her. Constantly she was an outsider, unusual, yet even in death she was not given any respect. Then they shipped her off to the anatomy department where they hung her up and 'carefully dissected her knee'. This demeaning tone is shocking and so very sad. It sums up Miss Gee's whole life. English romantic poet John Keats was born on October 31st 1795 in London. He lost both parents at an early age and became an apprentice at fifteen with his guardian at his surgery. He became professional in the field but chose to write poetry. He wrote his best poetry between 1818 and 1819 after falling in love. ...read more.

Conclusion

The beautiful woman feels no guilt almost making her evil, soul less but Miss Gee even feels guilt for her dreams. This really shows that beauty is only skin deep and Miss Gee never got the chance or had the confidence to prove this... Yet through La Belle anyone that got to know her and were captured by her beauty then realized that she was not all she appeared to be- 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci hath thee in thrall!' Both poems take in the issue of loneliness- the brave Knight who can only blame his gullible self and the forlorn Miss Edith who wants so badly to have companionship. Both ballads don't have happy endings- Miss Gee's unfortunate death with her body being used for gawking students and the Knight who was left 'palely loitering'. Overall I preferred 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' because it is an enchanting story leaving you wondering what happened to the Knight because most fairy tales have a happy ending. The person at the start who asked the question might have helped him escape and the Knight said; 'that is why I sojourn here'. Sojourn means 'to stay temporarily', which means that maybe the Knight was expecting to break the curse. Being a stereotypical fairytale Knight this 'escape' would be probable. 'Miss Gee' was sad and deplorable yet it was somewhat realistic- not all lives have a happy ending. Paula McKee 4 Lisbreen April 2001 ...read more.

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