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

In the poem The Cyclist by Louis MacNiece the readers are invited to share the joy and freedom of the cycling the boys are experiencing in summer via various literary devices. Through the use of theme, juxtaposition,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Freedom with restrictions - a commentary on "The Cyclist" by Louis MacNiece In the poem "The Cyclist" by Louis MacNiece the readers are invited to share the joy and freedom of the cycling the boys are experiencing in summer via various literary devices. Through the use of theme, juxtaposition, repetition and sensory imagery, the poet is able to create a pleasant atmosphere of vigorous youth. However, by mentioning the school studies throughout the poem, Louis MacNiece subtly implies that negative things will always exist, even when we are experiencing the happiest moments in our life. The title of the poem already tells the readers that the focus of the poem is the "cyclist", a young boy who is "freewheeling down the escarpment" (line 1). The very first word of the poem, "freewheeling", brings the theme of freedom into this work. By describing the swift movement of the bike and applying the verb in present tense, it creates a continuous and unstoppable impression of the cycling process when the poet sets the action going down a hill. ...read more.

Middle

The happiness and pleasure brought by "freewheeling" now appear to be somewhat tragic, as we learn they will not last long. The poem consists of 27 lines that are divided into three stanzas of varying lengths. If the first stanza is mainly devoted to the freedom of the cycling boy, then the second stanza's purpose is to build up the summer atmosphere by using remarkable imagery. In line 11, the phrase "glaring, glaring white" creates a dazzling effect, reminding of the color of summer sun. The repetition of "glaring" emphasizes the brightness of the light but gives a sense of danger at the same time too, as it produces an image of a teacher glaring at the student for wasting his time on cycling rather than studying. The heat in the summer time is further highlighted by the image of "the grass boil[ing] with grasshoppers" (line 13). The verb "boil", that expresses the heat needed for liquid to turn into vapor, is so vivid that the readers can almost directly feel the incredibly high temperature. ...read more.

Conclusion

The repetition of "left-right-left" (line 21 and 23) that describes the pedaling process at the end of the poem significantly contrasts the "freewheeling" at the beginning of cycling. The fact that the "the boy must pedal again" (line 22) and meanwhile remembering "his forgotten sentence" (line 21) indicates the joy the boy experiences in summer holiday will eventually fade away: he has to face the reality of schoolwork and start to study hard when the vacation ends. The poem finishes by referring to the unchangeable movements of the "horse in the chalk" (line 24). The horse, although much slower than the bike, can be regarded as the ultimate symbol of freedom, as unlike human, particularly the boy whose school will soon start, it moves "calmly (repeated three times in line 25, 26 and 27) regardless of tenses and final clauses" (line 26). This last juxtaposition of human's restrictions and animal's freedom, together with various other literary devices used in this work, marks the final conclusion of this poem written by MacNiece: although we can experience joy and excitement in our lives, we can never truly be free. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. A Mid Summer Nights dream: A Comedy with serious elements

    she agrees to give him the Indian boy isn't even shown onstage, but is only described. Thus, demonstrating the expected ending of a tragicomedy, as turning out to be a happy one. "tragicomedy usually meant a serious action, as in tragedy, with a happy ending, as in comedy;" (Dukore 1)

  2. Free essay

    Comparing Catcher in the Rye and the Bell Jar

    It is difficult for him because if he begins to get close to someone he thinks he will lose them just like how he lost Allie. Allie's death also made Holden lose his childhood innocence by realizing all the unfairness and hatred in the world.

  1. Poem Commentary on "before summer rain" by Rainer Maria Rilke

    In the first two stanzas there is very little comma usage to exhibit the swiftness of the storm and the worrying behaviour of the narrator, "Something-you don't know what-has disappeared". However as one reaches the last two stanzas the comma usage becomes much more evident, and aids in slowing the

  2. Commentary on Marilyn Krysl's Poem "Summer Solstice, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka"

    The structure of the poem is extremely methodical, four stanzas and each with four lines. This could be used to represent the soldiers as it gives the reader the image of soldiers marching on, slowly pressing forward, their longing for peace increasing with each stanza.

  1. How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and ...

    name as if she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something??[23] Thus yet again proving that to Higgins, Eliza in fact wasn?t a human being but rather a ?thing? that could be compared to a lost umbrella. Eliza is a ?nobody? in the society, but her existence is still acknowledged as ?something? presumably as an experiment for Higgins.

  2. Discuss the Effects of Major Political and Social Movements on the Literary Works of ...

    She still thinks they are inferior to the whites, even when they are actually her savior. Gordimer portrayed the view of the dominating whites regarding racial equality. Along with racism, the class system of the society is another prominent feature of the 20th century.

  1. The effect of historical allusions in the History Boys

    And indeed, later on in the scene, Dakin remarks randomly that ?I?m beginning to like him more and more?, him being Irwin. The small historical allusions interspersed throughout the play seem to help us find common threads, provoking shared recollections on important moments in history, but also, these historical allusions

  2. Narrative Devices: The Necessary Failures of King Saul in the Old Testament.

    Nevertheless, at the closing of the Book of Judges, the text reads, ?[?] in those days there was no king in Israel; everyman does that which was right in his own eyes.? (Judges 21:16-23) setting the narrative basis for which the citizens request a king, despite Samuel already being a fully competent, experienced leader.

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