The Owl And The Pussy Cat English Literature Essay

In this essay I will be analyzing Edward Lear ‘s verse form ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat ‘ ( Appendix 1 ) , foremost supplying a proficient stylistic analysis concentrating on sound patterning, secondly turn uping its topographic point in the history of poesy for kids, and thirdly how the verse form envisages childhood. It was written in December 1867 for a immature miss, Janet Symonds, the girl of a close friend of Lear, and foremost published in an anthology by Lear entitled Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets ( 1871 ) . It has since been published, illustrated, translated, and set to music many times. In 2001 it was voted Britain ‘s favorite verse form. Lear uses simple, but originative linguistic communication to state the enrapturing narrative of the voyaging sweeties ; the incongruous bird and cat.

Consisting three stanzas, each 11 lines long, it consists of twin lay quatrains and a three-line chorus, composed in a typical iambic meter. The rhyme strategy is ‘abcbdefe ‘ jumping between four and three stressed syllables per line, followed by the chorus ‘eee ‘ consisting of two lines with merely one stressed syllable, and a concluding line with three. This unvarying rime strategy non merely gives the poem musical construction, but besides coheres the really different parts of the narrative. The rhythmic correspondence of the choruss, in which all three lines end with the same stressed word, is a rigorous form in itself and foregrounds this portion of the verse form as it takes on an incantatory feel. Although the choruss are non the dominant construction of the verse form, they do add musical support. The regular metrical form is what gives the verse form its lifting beat ( anapaests ) and sing song signifier and there is small to interrupt the flow of the beat, or the narrative. The purpose so is simpleness and repeat ; so the first case of repeat occurs in the gap line, which features the verse form ‘s rubric words thereby reaffirming the focal point of the verse form. But in the first stanza, the most noticeable sound form is the concentration of /p/ sounds ; a phonological correspondence that extends across the text with the words ‘Pussy ‘ , ‘pea ‘ , ‘plenty ‘ and ‘pound ‘ every bit good as happening in ‘wrapped ‘ and ‘up ‘ . The return of this plosive consonant emulates the plucking of guitar strings, which non merely enhances the beat but besides the ocular consequence of the serenading bird of Minerva. While the plosive /p/ in ‘Pussy ‘ paired with the /b/ in ‘beautiful ‘ is non rather alliterative, it is heavy and seductive of music, reflecting the deepness and passion of the bird of Minerva ‘s endearments. Note, excessively, that Lear besides uses punctuation to stress significance ; the exclaiming Markss at the terminal of lines 10s and eleven denote an look of the bird of Minerva ‘s feelings proposing that the relationship is so romantic.

In add-on to repeat and initial rhyme, Lear employs strong full rimes to reenforce sound, significance and beat, and they play an active portion in the temper and intent of this verse form. Perfect terminal rimes are the most noticeable, but there are besides strong internal rimes, viz. happening in every 3rd line of each stanza, but besides in the 5th line in the 2nd and 3rd 1s. This mix of one and two syllable rimes act as a sub-refrain conveying the vocal sound ’round and unit of ammunition ‘ once more to our ears while the text becomes more and more capricious. Sound and musicalness are farther brought to our attending by the chiming terminal rime between ‘sing ‘ and ‘ring ‘ in lines 13 and 15. The words are bright and short, as is the vowel sound, but followed by the consonant /ng/ the sound is extended. The repeat of ‘ring ‘ in the chorus helps to mime the tintinnabulation of a bell where we may hear the onomatopoetic resonance of the word ‘bong ‘ ( from ‘bong-tree ‘ ) . The 3rd stanza culminates in a concentration of internal and assonant rimes which conjure a ocular and aural banquet to fit the nuptials feast itself, with the concluding lines arousing the who-o-o, who-o-o of an bird of Minerva through the long vowel /oo/ in ‘moon ‘ . All the qualities of vocal are present: pleasance, easiness of repeat, memorability, beat, rime and choruss. The evident spontaneousness of these elements emerge from really traditional rules and Lear ‘s witty administration.

Besides musicalness, the other chief characteristic of the verse form is ‘word-play ‘ . Lear incorporates occasional invented words: ‘bong-tree ‘ , ‘Piggy-wig ‘ and the nonsensical adjectival ‘runcible ‘ . Equally good as holding a humourous consequence, they introduce elements of self-generated phantasy that punctuate the phantasmagoric journey of the anthropomorphised animate beings. Although these words appear made-up they still remain, merely, within our normal outlooks of English. However, they do divert from the verse form ‘s environing simple linguistic communication and hence are foregrounded. Therefore, the reader/listener pays peculiarly attending to them because they are fulfilling to state without needfully holding to do sense. Even though ‘runcible ‘ has no existent significance ( although it has since been popularly defined as a three-pronged fork curved like a spoon ) it has a phonological gaiety with the peal of the ‘r ‘ in ‘run ‘ followed by the two syllables in ‘cible ‘ . The word division of ‘Piggy-wig ‘ really incorporates the phonemes and significances of two words, ‘pig ‘ and ‘wig ‘ , managng to win as an internal rime. While the inclusion of these words does n’t truly add anything to the significance of the phrase, they do at least sustain, and rather perchance beef up the beat. It is non until the concluding stanza that the beat is disrupted somewhat by the ‘running over ‘ of line 23 into 24 without a intermission. The consequence of this enjambement is that we are hurried on to a polar phase in the narrative, the point at which a dealing occurs. The caesura at the word ‘ring ‘ creates non merely a intermission, but besides a brief tenseness as we await the hog ‘s reply. Note, excessively, that the direct address in these lines mentions traditional matrimony vows reinforced by the emphasis on the words ‘willing ‘ and ‘will ‘ . Furthermore, this dealing besides brings the ‘real ‘ universe nearer to the surface. Without a pealing the matrimony can non take topographic point. Merely when the ‘deal ‘ has been done can the narrative, and therefore the verse form, continue as earlier. Once the regular beat resumes it drives the narrative onward, stoping with felid and poultry dancing ‘hand in manus, on the border of the sand…by the visible radiation of the Moon ‘ . Imagery created by the moonshine ( traditionally invoked as being romantic ) means the captivation of the scene dances on with the phantasy sweeties and is where the reader/listener has to go forth them. In malice of the capricious narrative and word-play the verse form is solidly anchored by the strong iambic ‘gait ‘ woven through the traditional ballad signifier of tetrameter and trimeter. The lifting beat travel the verse form along whilst being controlled by the full and stable rimes, doing it really fulfilling.

Lear ‘s endowment foremost saw the visible radiation of twenty-four hours in A Book of Nonsense ( 1846 ) incorporating a aggregation of his Limericks and diverting illustrations which proved an immediate success with readers and critics. Lear ‘s work, along with that of Lewis Carroll, developed and popularised nonsensical literature, particularly with respect to their usage of ‘nonsense ‘ words, therefore, it is frequently seen as a distinctively ‘Victorian genre ‘ . But literary bunk existed long before this and, as Styles points out in her essay about the history of poesy for kids, can be traced back to the ‘wildness of the baby’s room rime ‘ ( Styles, p. 211 ) . These ancient and traditional rimes from the unwritten tradition, familiarly known as ‘Mother Goose ‘ rimes, are a aggregation of poetries, cradlesongs, rimes and melodies offering temper, repeat and storytelling, although few were originally created or intended for kids. Eighteenth century poesy considered suited for kids was largely didactic or moralistic, and frequently mean-spirited. Its head purposes were concerned with salvaging the psyche and making good character and, like other kids ‘s literature, largely reflected the thoughts that grownups held about what kids should be interested in. But as Puritanism waned and new thoughts about childhood and instruction emerged, poetic aggregations written specifically for kids began to look such as Tommy Thumb ‘s Song Book ( 1744 ) , the first effort to set nursery rhymes from the unwritten tradition into print, and two aggregations from William Blake in 1789 and 1794, although non specifically written for kids, did capture the kernel of childhood. Other volumes of child-centered poesy appeared in the early portion of the 19th century, and even though poets at this clip continued to follow in the same moralistic tradition there was a turning involvement in kids ‘s emotions and experiences. The mid and late 19th century produced

Stanzaan copiousness of poesy for kids, including that of Lear, which coincided with the altering positions on childhood. Although the roots of nonsensical poetry are earlier than the 19th century, this is the period the most famed and noteworthy illustrations appear. Lear ‘s Limericks and nonsensical rimes were non merely enjoyed by kids, but besides by grownups, who found them a welcome alleviation from the restrictive instructions of the Church and Victorian society in general. These witty and humourous rimes were fun to read aloud and easy to retrieve.

But Lear ‘s work is non merely distinguished by his lingual drama ; it besides included bizarre and amusing drawings. Although his illustrations for ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat ‘ are slightly conservative, in that the animate beings are depicted rather realistically and look expressionless, they do offer an interpretive consequence and would hold greatly enhanced the feeling of the verse form at the clip of publication. By contrast, the individual illustration in 100 Best Poems for Children ( Puffin, 2002 ) is unworldly and childlike. While the little brilliantly coloured image does offer a modicum of reading, in the context of the anthology its intent is more generic and there is really small for a kid to linger over. The deficiency of illustrations implies that the value of the text is greater than the ocular constituent, and that the anthology is aimed at the older kid who can read independently, borne out by the publishing house ‘s ain web site where it is advertised for an age group of eight to twelve old ages. Interestingly, Montgomery points out that the book ‘includes rimes for the ( merely ) pre-schooler ‘ and although it includes ‘some [ poesy ] for the older kid ‘ ( Montgomery, p. 137 ) its intent is non a preliminary to poetry for grownups. This anthology so is multi-faceted, intended for kids to read entirely, or with parents, or in the schoolroom. Indeed, portion of the entreaty and digesting popularity of ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat ‘ is that it lends itself to group choral reading. The verse form ‘s jaunty beat, playful rimes, absurd words, and the enrapturing narrative it tells, reminiscent of fairy tales and notional imaginings, all conspire to catch the kid ‘s attending. Creative words and visible radiation hearted verse average kids can research linguistic communication and enjoy words for their sound and the images they conjure without it needfully holding to do sense. Whether the kid believes that nuptialss between bird of Minerva and pussycats are portion of the ‘real ‘ universe or non is irrelevant: a narrative, particularly one told in the signifier of a verse form or vocal, is understood by the kid to be portion of drama and the inventive universe, non the ‘real ‘ 1. The beat and sound-patterns of the verse form are more of import than the possible ‘reality ‘ or credibleness of the narrative being told. However, the prioritising of sound and beat over sense and ‘realism ‘ does non intend that this ‘nonsense ‘ verse form is nonmeaningful. Lear plays on the sound of words, but with or without the absurd elements logic still exists and it is a absolutely consistent narrative of romantic love. Yet themes emerge in footings of different deepnesss every bit good as in footings of being cardinal or peripheral. The surface subject, the one most appealing to kids, is a reasonably melody about carnal escapades suggesting at love and a comedy of matrimony. On another degree it is a unusual coupling of species and events set to a instead hypnotic beat. Deeper down still, both supporters are carnivores and dark huntsmans. The verse form so is non merely about guiltless ‘nonsense ‘ , but besides something eldritch. Lear manages to accomplish a balance between elements that seem to do sense and elements that do non ; a notional narrative set against the solid foundations of traditional vocal, familiar mundane linguistic communication and image unfamiliarly juxtaposed, conventional but besides infantile. It gratifies the kid ‘s appetency for the musical and for the strange. The administration of the beat, rimes, and absurd words gives the verse form a capricious, and yet obliging narrative than Lodges in the head of the grownup every bit good as the kid. All these elements contribute to doing it entertaining and memorable: ‘nonsense ‘ that delights the ear and the imaginativeness.

2101 words

Mentions

Bristol, S. Poetry for Children: Development of a Genre hypertext transfer protocol: //bristolportfolio.net/517.html

Finlay, N. Edward Lear ‘s Gift of Nonsense hypertext transfer protocol: //www.fathom.com/feature/190105/index.html

Jeffries, L. ( 2009 ) The Language of Poems for Children: A Stylistic Case Study in Maybin, J. and Watson, N.

Children ‘s Literature: Approachs and Districts, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 218-235

Lear, E. ( 2002 ) ‘The Owl and the Pussycat ‘ in McGough, R. ( erectile dysfunction ) 100 Best Poems for Children, Puffin, pp 60

Lear, E. ( 2004 ) The Project Gutenberg eBook, Nonsense Books

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.gutenberg.org/files/13650/13650-h/13650-h.htm

Literary Nonsense hypertext transfer protocol: //literary_nonsense.totallyexplained.com/

Montgomery, H. ( 2009 ) ‘Block 3 – Poetry and Performance ‘ EA300 Study Guide, pp. 137

Puffin Books hypertext transfer protocol: //www.puffin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0, ,9780141310589,00.html # outline

Manners, M. ( 2009 ) ‘From the Garden to the Street: The History of Poetry for Children ‘ in Maybin, J. and Watson, N.

Children ‘s Literature: Approachs and Districts, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 202-216