• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Mort aux Chats by Peter Porter - critical review

Extracts from this document...


Mort aux Chats by Peter Porter At the first sight, and as far as the subject is concerned, the poem "Mort aux Chats" by Peter Porter is a prejudiced total enumeration of insults and accusations of cats, as generalization and no provision of any valid evidence are to be found. The narrator can clearly be distinguished from the poet, since the narrator's words are satiric and his points exaggerated and ridiculous ("I blame my headache and my plants dying on to cats"). Creating a speaker, the poet makes the reader explore the ludicrousness and abstruseness of the thoughts expressed in the poem on his own. While the narrator uses short phrases in the beginning ("Cats pollute the air"), towards the middle and the end his sentences expand to questions ("Why should they insist on their own language, who needs to purr to make his point?") and exclamatory slogans against cats ("Death to all cats!"). There is a lot of evidence of the poet wanting to display how propaganda works and what effects it has, as well as to illustrate the ridiculousness of the prejudiced, stereotyped behaviour and way of thinking of National Socialists, especially of those who were discriminating against and persecuting Jews in power in Germany between the First and the Second World War ("They stabbed us in the back last time.", "They don't deserve a capital C", "When I dream of God I see a Massacre of Cats"). ...read more.


Hence, he uses methods that have been used for the purpose of propaganda, which is a specific type of message presentation, aimed at changing people's understanding through deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding, in Nazi Germany. The truly aggressive, sharp and violent title, "Mort aux Chats", considering its meaning, gains a sense of sophistication and scholarliness through its translation into French, it moreover is euphemistic, since it makes a brutal slogan, an incitement to kill sound less immoral and cruel. Also, it is surrounded by a revolutionary flair, a sense of a great change in, an improvement of conditions. The influence and impact on the reader is furthermore increased through the imperative. Another example that supports the impression of propaganda is the anapher of the word "cats" in four of five successive lines, that is like pointing one's finger at them, showing that they are guilty, insulting them not only with words but also with the help of repetition, that keeps the focus and the attention of the reader on them. In the whole poem, the word "cats" is repeated 13 times in fact. Using sharp, short sentences ("Cats spread infections", "Cats pollute the air"), the narrator increases the urgency of his speech. As he goes on, he uses questions ("Why should they insist on their own language and religion, who needs to purr to make his point?") ...read more.


As the poem goes on, the narrator uses longer sentences ("Perhaps they are all right in their own country but their traditions are alien to ours"), questions ("Why should they insist on their own language and religion, who needs to purr to make his point?") and exclamations ("Death to all cats!"), as he becomes more and more obsessed, passionate and vehement. His own harangue has made him that aggressive and violent that he wishes "Death to all cats!". Throughout the whole poem, the relationship between "cats", and "dogs" is used as an extended metaphor, combined with a personification in some parts ("Why should they insist on their own language and religion"). Although frequently "cats" seem to represent Jews, as in "They don't deserve a capital C", for instance, more generally speaking they correspond to a minority the majority has prejudice against and directs all anger and blame on. "Cats" therefore perform the role of scapegoats. The use of animals instead of human beings makes the ridiculousness of the narrator's ideas even more apparent. In the poem, the absence of a wide range of stylistic device underlines its prosaicity. To sum up, Porter's concern here is to convey that prejudice and intolerance is the source of racism and may eventually lead to genocide. Therefore, thoughts have to be examined and not everything believed straightaway without having any proof of it. Furthermore, the danger of prejudice is displayed in the poem , as well as society is criticized for its tendency to accept prejudice. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Prejudice and Discrimination section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Prejudice and Discrimination essays

  1. "Mort Aux Chats" - A poem by Peter Porter What is the poem about?

    The first line of the first stanza is in line with and portrays a similar motive and extreme brand of prejudice as the last line of the last stanza. "There will be no more cats". This quote seems even more aggressive and angry because of the tense usage, ie shall and that.

  2. Outline the Persecution The Jew's Suffered During The Shoah.

    sent up in lifts to ovens, where eight bodies at a time where incinerated. When the news of Hitler's actions came out only a few thousand very sick and traumatised Jews were found, others were sent on long tiring "death marches" towards the west.

  1. For this assignment, I ended up reading both Hiroshima and Night, but my past ...

    By lying about their ages, they were viewed as more fit to work. The prisoners actually came to realize "Work is liberty" at Auschwitz. Lying became common among the Jews to pass selections. Rations of food were scarce, thus killing for crumbs were occurrences that happened daily.

  2. What is a Parable? EXTENDED COURSEWORK

    This is unlikely to be true of the Parables Jesus told as the Kingdom of God is meant for everyone, not just the well educated. In my opinion, it is patently obvious that Jesus did not intend to confuse people with the Parables he used in his teaching.

  1. Who or What is Responsible for the Royal Hunt of the Sun's Tragic Ending?

    "No danger. He is coming to bless me. A god and all his priests. Praise Father Sun!" This is contrast to the attitude of Atahuallpa's own priests, who advise him dramatically "Kill them now!" and "Destroy them-teach them the meaning of death." The directness of this language contrasts to Atahuallpa himself who is far calmer about the whole situation.

  2. Criminology and Sociology Literature Review

    "...black defendants were, for example, more likely than whites to receive prison sentences in magistrates' courts, and both they and Asian defendants were more likely to be committed to the Crown Court for trial." (Ray, Smith and Wastell '99). The third article also agrees that institutional racism needs to be looked at further.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work