Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Formalistic Approach To Ode To The Death Of A Favourite Cat English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 818 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

The New Criticism began in the 1930s and 1940s and has since been a dominant force in twentieth – century literary studies. To the degree that New Criticism focuses upon literary texts as formal works of art, it departs from the traditional topical / historical approach. The objection raised by the New Critics is that as topical / historical critics consider literary history, they evade direct contact with actual texts.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

The inspiration for the formalist or New Critical approach was the French practice of explication de texte, a method that emphasizes detailed examination and explanation. The New Criticism is at its most brilliant in the formal analysis of smaller units as entire poems and short passages. Discussions of point of view, tone, plot, character, and structure, for example, are formal ways of looking at literature that are derived from the New Criticism.

The aim of the formalist study of literature is to provide readers not only with the means of explaining the content of works (What, specifically, does a work say?) but also with the insights needed for evaluating the artistic quality of individual works and writers (How well is it said?). A major aspect of New Critical thought is that content and form – including all ideas, ambiguities, subtleties, and even apparent contradictions – were originally within the conscious or subconscious control of the author. There are no accidents. It does not necessarily follow, however, that today’s critic is able to define the author’s intentions exactly, for such intentions require knowledge of biographical details that are irretrievably lost. Each literary work there fore takes on its own existence and identity, and the critic’s work is to discover a reading or readings that explain the facts of the text. Note that the New Critic doesn’t claim infallible interpretations and does not exclude the validity of multiple readings of the same work.

It seems “Ode to the Death of a Favorite Cat” in the Formalistic point of view is very absorbing. First skimming hurriedly through the poem gives this idea to the reader which it is the story of a cat struggling to catch a goldfish and finally drowns, but as we approach closer, we find out that the poetry is really meaningful. Even the form of the poem is not ineffective in its deep impression. The poem is divided to seven 6 lines stanzas with Thomas Gray’s used rhyme of AABCCB.

The only primitive way to write this poem is employing the point of view of either cat, fish or separated third person, a beholder. The using of narrator approach by Thomas Gray is really adequate and impressive because it rises this idea that all characters are entangled and included.

The symbolism – another hint – plays further important role in the poem. Gray never tries to recount things in a plain and unsophisticated way but he uses very vivid and pictorial adjectives like emerald eyes, ears of jet, tortoise vies, snowy beard, and pensive Selima thoroughly and exhaustively. Using this sort of expressions adds its adoration and decoration.

The cat itself is a symbolic character. It describes something which is very similar to Freud’s concept of “Id”. This is much like a two-year-old child. They only observe what they wish and go for it. Any sense of impediment is sensed in this person and you might think that there is not a thought in that person’s head.

Many instances of assonance are seen in the poem. Assonance refers to a technique that the beginning letters in a phrase are repeating to add emphasis. He utilizes such phrases like emerald eyes, golden gleam, and heedless hearts. In this sense it looks efficient because it employs the further metaphors and remarkable descriptions.

The sequence of events in the poem determines the structure of Thomas Gray’s Ode to the death of a Favorite Cat. The poem starts by sharing an account of both cat and fish. The climax of the poetry is when the cat is going for the fish and it comes to deduction with the death of cat in trying to grasp the goldfish.

Most readers can easily relate to this poem. I’m assured that many people have often felt and recognized themselves in a situation that they have collapsed while in following of what they supposed would change their lives for better.

The explanation of this poem can be considered by two different ways. In the surface study of the poem it is seen as a story of a not good fortune cat that drowns in the following of a goldfish or it recounts the story of all us in pursuing our dreams to grasp our desires and coming to what which we never predicted. What is clear is that Thomas Gray writes this poem to retell the feeling most of us and that struggling which many of people felt some time.


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: