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

I will be examining two poems, The History Teacher by Billy Collins and The the impotence of proofreading by Taylor Mali.

Extracts from this document...


(Introduction) Every poet might be criticized for the diction in his/her poem being flat, colourless, clich�, ancient and no doubt a host of other annoyances. However, what can a poet say to justify the choice or words in a poem? The diction used in the eighteenth century was an attempt to remove irrelevant and contemporary associations of words and thus release the full potential of the words' primary meanings. The Romans introduced a fresh inner world with words like pale, home, child, cold, weep etc. Then words like water, shadow and moon arrived. The mid-nineteenth century popularized red, stone and dead while poetry in the nineteen thirties was packed with references to industrial buildings and political change. Words do not necessarily have transparent meanings because they have latent associations, multiple meanings, rhythmic power and textural suggestions. However, the touchstone is always the audience, even if it is only one person. Aristotle stipulated that there should be a mixture of ordinary and unfamiliar words in the language of poetry. Ordinary Words are made for clarity while unfamiliar words make the language shine. However, words too familiar, or too remote, defeat the purpose of the poet, Samuel Johnson said. ...read more.


If a child touches it, he/she would experience the pain and make note not to touch the pot again. However, if someone deliberately changed the pot of hot water to warm water every time and told the child that it's okay to touch hot water, the child would touch it and feel nothing, absently thinking that it is alright to touch hot water. This method would be useful if that 'someone' pre-arranged everything in that child's life. Unfortunately, when the child grows up, he/she will continue to believe that it won't hurt to touch hot water and will eventually have an accident, but will not know what to do as he/she has no previous experience in it. Similarly, the children in the poem are told that everything in the past was insignificant and there was no serious harm done. The children would grow up believing that and as the saying of George Santayana goes, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". You see, what I glean from the poem is that even though we try to protect our children by glossing over the bad parts of life and hiding behind our picket fences and nice flower beds, they can still fall prey to the darker side of human nature. ...read more.


(Conclusion) In conclusion, both of the poems effectively show problems affecting modern societies not only in America, but also around the world. People like the "History Teacher" try to sugar coat the past and hope that if the children do not know about it, they will not do it. The person in the second poem hopes to get good grades by relying on technology to solve all of the problems. However, the truth is that one needs to learn and know the facts, and not just believe everything that you are told. You need to become sceptical to a certain extent before you are able to truly understand life and your surroundings. Poetry is not particularly effective as a shock-treatment compared to the TV, cinemas or even multimedia. However, phrases and words interpenetrate life because they continue to serve some vital need. It is society which supports such needs that requires to change, not the other way around. If poetry is to be largely "a slice of life", then poetry needs to defend itself against the stronger claims of films and novels. If it is something else, then that purpose needs to be thought through as while poetry can certainly be written without poetry diction, it is immeasurably the poorer of it. ...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. Two poems that have captured the essence of emotional survival are Katrina by Bruce ...

    use of words such as; "curly hair" and "your cheek, a gaily coloured ball". However, the strongest image is painted with the metaphor "my little snowy son". Snow is often associated with the colour white and white, in the English language has come to suggest purity and innocence.

  2. How victims of globalisation have been presented in poems, novels and films.

    Similar to "Digging," the use of structural divisions in "The Shipping News," significantly symbolises Quoyle's retreat, and reveals to the responder the vast contrasts between global and local values. Quoyle's childhood, for instance, imaginatively describes the global as superficial and unaccommodating - "failure of a normal appearance...at sixteen he was buried under a casement of flesh..."

  1. In the poem Winter Syntax, by Billy Collins, the structure is organized into six ...

    There are gestures like "hold a girl's face like a vase" and "lift a gun from glove compartment and toss it out the window". They are both movements can be done by hands, but have very different strengths and emotions.

  2. In The Chrysalids by John Wyndham creates two comparable societies, Waknuk and Sealand. These ...

    When these two communities are examined it is easy to decide which the more fitting place to live is, and that place is Sealand. Waknuk is surviving in a very basic bubble of technology, and they refuse to deviate from their beliefs in order to expand.

  1. What is the work to be done? Commentary on the poems of Alan Ginsberg

    ? Go f**k yourself with your atom b**b. I don't feel good don't bother me. I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind. This shows that Ginsberg doesn't care that America has the most powerful weapon in the world.

  2. Question: while the poems Kubla khan by Coleridge and La belle Dame Sans ...

    It is so strange that the poet sees drops of sweat on his forehead even though it is extremely cold. thus Keats blend his poem with the supernatural in the very beginning.The knight then replies to the poet's query and says that he had met a captivating lady in a garden.

  1. Racism in African-American Poetry | Poetry Anthology Project

    Yet do I marvel is a sonnet written in iambic pentameter, with use of a balanced and consistent rhythm. Cullen employs repetition in the poem by the use of the word "why." This repetition reflects the basic question of the poem.

  2. The poem Two Hands, written by Jon Stallworty, is a piece of writing with ...

    the poem to be more silent and delicate, and it makes the whole description sound like a secret that the author is hiding from his father, or himself. Concentration on the mood and tone of the poem, it is possible to say, that the mood, is mostly that of frustration and also a bit of sadness.

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