Russian Formalism In Poetry Analysis Sample Assignment

Introduction For my essay I am going to adopt a formalist approach to Wordsworth’s ‘The Thorn’. In particular I will be looking into the views of the Russian formalists such as Victor Shlovsky and Alexander Potebnya, and relating their thoughts to the poem. I will then be seeing how the ‘The Thorn’ relates to elements of the uncanny in its content. I will finish by including a reader response, where I will draw on my own thoughts of the poem. Russian formalism Russian formalism advocated a ‘scientific’ method for studying poetic language.

Russian formalists saw poetry as something that can be mechanically taken in order to reveal devices that make it up. The formalists believed that poetry was made up of several different devices purposely placed to increase length of perception. As Erlich points out, ” It was intent upon delimiting literary scholarship from contiguous disciplines such as psychology, sociology, intellectual history, and the list theoreticians focused on the ‘distinguishing features’ of literature, on the artistic devices peculiar to imaginative writing” (The New Princeton Encyclopedia 1101- http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Russian_formalism#Mechanistic_Formalism). Shlovsky believed that in life we take general signs for granted, And he believed that poetic language played with form and content to make the receiver think more purposely about what they were reading. Shlovskys argument, briefly stated, “is that the habitual way of thinking is to make the unfamiliar as easily digestible as possible. Normally our perceptions are “automatic,” which is another way of saying that they are minimal” (Russian formalist criticism four essays page 4).

Thus according to Russian formalism “The role of art in general is to remove this veil of familiarity , to re-alert us to the objects , ideas and events which no longer make an impression (class handout , part one, formal introduction). Wordsworth’s ‘The thorn’ can be seen to draw on several Russian formalist theories. Firstly, throughout the poem there are several uses of imagery. In the first stanza when describing the thorn, it is said to be ‘old’, ‘grey’ with ‘thorny points’ and ‘knotted joints’. This is just a brief example of imagery used in poem.

It seems to set the tone very early on by giving the reader a dreary mental image. Alexander Potebnya believed that imagery was key to the function of poetry. He claimed that it was a way of thinking in images and once said “without imagery there is no art and in particular no poetry” (Russian formalist criticism four essays page 5). Potebnya writes “Poetry, as well as prose, is first and foremost a special way of thinking and knowing – thinking in images” (Russian formalist criticism four essays page 4).

The poem contains certain conventional symbols, such as the semi- colon, colon commas and dashes. The symbols create gaps in the poem and seem to be a device in which the reader is prompted to pause and think of whats been said. For example-again in the first stanza, the opening half (of first stanza) is describing the ‘old’ thorn. It seems that the content of this section allows the poem to flow at moderate pace, I. e. words such as ‘grey’ and ‘say ‘allow for a slower pace in the way that they sound. This slow pace can be linked to the idea of the thorn being old and weary.

The use of the semi-colon seems to break up the stanza by giving it a more stressed and roughened rhythm, for example the thorn is being described in a more unpleasant way. Words such as ‘knotted’ (knot-ted) and ‘wretched’ (wretch-ed) give a more aggressive tone. This could be seen as nature’s aggressive and more dangerous side. The use of metaphor is very apparent in the poem. A formalistic approach would suggest that metaphor is a device used in poetic language to demystify, thus stimulating and provoking thought and perception.

An example of metaphor used in ‘The thon’ reads; ‘Up from the earth these mosses creep, And this poor thorn! They clasp it round so close; you’d say that they were bent with plain and manifest intent, To drag it to the ground’. To look at this extract in a metaphorical sense, it could be suggested that the thorn is the baby and the mosses are representing Martha or the evils in the world killing and burying the baby. This is an example of defamiliarisation, with the use of metaphor making understanding more complicated.

Shlovsky defines a field of literary activity in which linguistically based devices (such as metaphor and metonymy) create an experience more complex and possibly less coherent, than the examination of images can suggest. (Contemporary literary criticism, second edition page 54). There are a few examples were it would seem the narrator is talking to or addressing the reader personally. For example the eleventh stanza (first line) reads “I’ll give you the best help I can:” That’s followed by instructions to get to the “dreary mountain top”.

A few lines on it goes on to tell of her situation with ‘Stephen Hill’ and wedding plans etc, this seems to me to be purposely done to mimic gossiping (locals who say she killed her baby) – gossiping that is within the content of the poem. The third stanza has an unexpected change how the narrator is talking to the reader. The narrator is describing a muddy pond of water, using cold and windy descriptions as part of the imagery. Then the last two lines of the stanza read “I’ve measured it from side to side: ‘tis three feet long, and two feet wide”.

This seems like an odd digression, with the narrator clearly going off the point of the story. This is maybe done as a bit of humor to knock the reader off track, which links back to delaying of meaning. Uncanny I am going to look at aspects The uncanny within the ‘The thorn’. The uncanny has to do with a sense of strangeness, mystery or eeriness. More particular it concerns a sense of unfamiliarity which appears at the very heart of the familiar, or else a sense of familiarity which appears at the heart of the unfamiliar (class handout, The uncanny page 36).

The Uncanny is a Freudian concept, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Uncanny) There are seemingly several aspects of Wordsworth ‘The thorn’ that fall into aspects of the uncanny. The first example I am going to extract from the poem is in the fifth stanza.

The line that reads “is like an infant’s grave in size”. This is immediately linked to death, but how it ties into the uncanny is the unthinkable notion of it being a Childs grave. Another example of death is on stanza twelve “And if ‘twas born alive or dead”, linked to the notion ‘all that lives must die’. There are references to animism within the content, in the sixteenth stanza, “were voices of the dead”. This could be seen as Martha’s dead baby playing her conscience. Also in the same stanza on the line that says “cries coming from the mountain – head”, this is linked to Anthropomorphism.

This because the mountain is said to be crying also there is the idea within the content of the mountain having a human form (head). The line that reads “And for the little infants bones with spades they would have sought”, this has an eerie feel about it. The idea of infant’s bones would fall into the uncanny category. For example the idea of infant is familiar to you or I but when you pair the idea of infant with bones it becomes unfamiliar. Reader response Wordsworth’s the thorn is a poem that I particularly enjoyed. I think it is an easy read in terms of understanding what it’s about.

I do think that it has some contradictory elements within it that make it an appealing read. Going back to first stanza where it describes the thorn bush as “old and grey” then describes it as “not higher than a two years child”. I think this is saying that the thorn is old but then likening it to something that is young. On the forth stanza the first line is says “and close beside this aged thorn, there is a fresh and lovely sight. Again this is the concept of old and young together. Further more the woman of the story, Martha Ray is seen as a bad person who is described as “wretched” early on in the poem.

But as the story progresses and the reader becomes more familiar with Martha Ray( you get an insight into the Martha’s past- in particular her partner ran off with another woman), a shift in the narrators thoughts towards Martha becomes more sympathetic –“Poor Martha! On that woful day A cruel, cruel fire, they say, into her bones was sent”. The use of nature to set the scene is a really good aspect of the poem, in the third stanza the weather is described as “stormy winter cloud”; this is fitting imagery that I think mirrors the emotion that comes from the issue of a Childs death.

I think that the poem is intending to reflect society (which I think is evident now a days). I believe that Wordsworth wanted to show how cruel society can be. No one knows how Martha lost her baby but there are all gossiping and speculating that she has indeed killed her baby. As a result Martha has ended up on the fringe of society. She mourns alone, no one comforts her. Instead, they speculate about what might have happened to the child. – “but some will say She hanged her baby on the tree, Some say she drowned it in the pond”.

In this poem he appears to be illustrating not only a mother’s sorrow at losing her child, but also the often unsympathetic nature of society. Overall I do think that this poem is entertaining and has a very good morale to it. An interesting aspect of the poem is the poem starts with describing the thorn and it ends with thorn. To start with, the thorn is just seen as a thorn. As the story is unfolding the reader begins to see different ways in which the thorn is described, the thorn seems to come alive and takes on new meaning within the narrative.

Towards the end of the poem the thorn seems to go back to becoming just a thorn in the ground, “with heavy tufts of moss”. Bibliography • The New Princeton Encyclopedia 1101 • Russian formalist criticism four essays , Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis • Contemporary Literary Criticism , Robert Con Davis an Ronald Schleifer • http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Russian_formalism#Mechanistic_Formalism • Romanticism – possible approaches ll (class handout) • Romanticism, an anthology third edition, edited by Duncan Wu • http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Uncanny

Character Analysis Of Mersault – The Outside

Character Analysis of Meursault in the novel The Outsider In the novel “The Outsider” written by Albert Camus, Meursault is a character that is detached and unemotional as he gives no importance to anything and he recognizes the world around him through his senses. All through part one of the novel, Meursault does not really explain his characteristics therefore Camus explains his character instead of giving away his physical description. The language used is very simple and direct, which allows the reader to understand the situation.

Camus has showed Meursault to be a person who has lack of emotions, which causes, him not be a part of society. The tone used by Camus allows the reader to have a better understanding of the environment that he belongs in, by using a lot of imagery to explain it all. Camus uses imagery to portray life and death, which is the main theme of the novel. The mood of the first part of the novel is very calm yet confusing as one who is reading the novel would not be able to relate to it, as not everyone is familiar with a character like Meursault. Symbols such as guilt, journey, death and meaning have been shown several times all through the novel.

Meursault is a character that does not say much all through the novel, there are very few incidents when he is actually saying anything. When Meursault says something, it is very short and to the point, which allows him to be very straightforward, like “yes”(pg. 21) and “ yesterday” (pg. 24). As this novel is written in first person, one would predict there to be a lot of speech. However this novel does not does not contain much speech as if it did then the character would be giving meaning to the event which is what the author does not intend to do so.

Though actions speak louder than words, he, the character, acts in a different manner without thinking that is unusual to society. He is expected to behave in a certain manner, which he does not; therefore people look of him to be peculiar. He does what a normal man like him would do, work and go to the movies, “ The film was funny…”(pg. 24), enjoy at the beach with his friends, eat and enjoy his Sunday’s with himself. This does not look unfamiliar as many men spend their week just the way Meursault does. Camus is a very creative author, as it is not very easy to use imagery in a piece of literature.

The character does not say anything but instead he senses the world around him, and this happens with the imagery used by Camus all through the first part of the novel. The imagery used, is very interesting as it has an indirect link to the theme of the novel, “ the coachman’s boiled leather hat looked as if it had been moulded out of the same black mud. ”(pg. 21) This means that the hat of the coachman’s was made of leather, which is animal’s skin, for this the animal had to be dead for one to wear its leather.

The use of moulded out of the same black mud means that mud absorbs a heavy object and sinks in which mean that slowly life is sinking to death. While using imagery, the author also uses symbols to explain the plot even better. With the help of symbols Camus allows the readers to understand Meursault and his actions. He uses day and night as a symbol of life and death, he uses sleep at the end of most of the chapters in part one of the novel as an indicate to a temporary death “I went to bed…”(pg. 42) he uses words like afternoon to show that he is in the middle of his life “…get there in the afternoon” (pg. ) and also he uses doors to show the obstacles in life that opens up. Camus mentions more about doors shutting than opening, which therefore led the readers to notice that Meursault is running out of doors to escape death, “ he led the way to the door” (pg. 11). Guilt is also a symbol used by Camus several times through the first part of the novel, indirectly Meursault feels the guilt building in him though he does not accept it by saying“ It’s not my fault” (pg. 9); a few times. Meursault uses this phrase when he wants to take leave from his work to attend his mother’s funeral.

All these examples show that Meursault is forced to fell guilty by society, as he needs to follow the rules of his society to be in it. All the imagery and symbols used in the first part of the book show a path to death. Other figurative language that has been used by Camus in, The Outsider is the use of tone. Camus uses a very calm tone, which allows the readers to have a better understanding of the environment. He also uses short and abrupt sentences to show the importance of the event, by using short abrupt sentences he shows that nothing matters; that be his mother’s death also, “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know”(pg. ). This shows that it does not matter if his mother died or not because one day or the other she was going to die like everyone else. All through the first part of the novel the only time Camus mentions when Meursault actually feels an emotion is while he was swimming and he says, “ I was glad to be swimming”(pg. 52). In addition to tone Camus also uses mood to show the atmosphere around Meursault. Camus mention’s words like black and the sun bursting when it is not a very pleasant area that Meursault is not very comfortable in, “The sun was crashing down onto the sea and the sand and shattering into little pieces” (pg. 56).

This shows how Camus is showing that the mood of the novel is very negative. Rather than enjoying on the beach he is more concentrated more on the heat. Camus uses diction in his writing by not using adjectives; he does not describe anything by giving it any detail because if he did give any detail it would show that Meursault is giving meaning to life, which is not what Camus wants to show “I am hungry”(pg. 18). In conclusion, Camus uses imagery, symbol, mood, tone and diction to show the readers the character of Meursault. Symbols such as guilt, journey, death and meaning have been shown several times all through the novel.

Camus shows Meursault to be a man who existentialist and believe that life is a journey (going for mothers funeral, funeral is an event which takes place on one’s death (pg. 9)) through observable sensory (looking at sharp images of objects in a room which hurts his eyes (pg. 15)) meaningless (when Marie asks Meursault to marry her (pg. 44)), random chances (meeting Salamano at a random time (pg. 30)) events culminating to death (showing temporary death through sleep and the death of Salamano and his dogs relationship as the dog ran away(pg. 22)).

History Of Doping From Ancient Times To Today

Throughout history, men have always sought to enhance their productivity and alleviate suffering in the workplace. It is even suggested that Adam and Eve were the first to partake of a forbidden fruit with the intention of gaining divine abilities. In societies where the most skilled individuals were selected as athletes or warriors, they were given nourishing meals and therapeutic treatments believed to be beneficial.

In Scandinavian mythology, Berserkers were believed to enhance their physical power by consuming a mixture called “butotens,” potentially made from the Amanita muscaria mushroom. However, this came with the risk of losing one’s sanity. Similarly, even in the ancient Olympics during the BC era, some athletes reportedly followed special diets to outperform athletes from other city-states. Unfortunately, relying on this information is challenging due to its antiquity. The next accurately recorded case occurred in 1889 when a French psychologist named Charles Brown-Sequard developed a product using testicles from dogs and guinea pigs.

The product description advertised an rejuvenating elixir that supposedly boosts physical strength. It is noteworthy for being the first known product to contain testosterone. Prior to this time, doping in sports was not a widely debated topic as the technology to create performance-enhancing drugs seemed like a distant possibility, akin to discussing flying cars. Nonetheless, in 1935, two German scientists named Adolf Butenandt and Leopold Ruzicka managed to develop synthetic testosterone and were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, thereby changing the course of history.

Despite not intending for their discovery to be used for non-medical purposes, researchers discovered in the 1940s that men who were given testosterone experienced an increase in endurance. This finding led weightlifters, athletes, and even the Nazi regime to experiment with testosterone and other synthetic steroids in order to enhance performance. Unfortunately, the outcomes of the Nazi’s tests on prisoners of war remain unknown due to the burning of documents when Germany surrendered in the war. By the 1950s, rumors began circulating about teams using steroids for the first time.

The Russian Olympic team was rumored to have provided their athletes with steroids to outperform their competitors, which gained attention after their dominance in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. The truth emerged only two years later when a Russian weightlifting coach revealed to American coach John Ziegler the benefits of using testosterone and other steroids. This disclosure sparked widespread use of steroids among athletes globally; however, the negative effects were not fully understood at that time. It wasn’t until 1975, following a series of cycling accidents resulting in deaths, that the Olympic committee prohibited steroid usage.

The Tour de France is prompted to implement doping controls due to the death of a cyclist who suffered a skull fracture from taking a stimulant. Additionally, another cyclist named Tom Simpson collapses and dies while climbing Mont Ventoux during the Tour de France. This incident leads to the Olympic Committee adopting similar measures. Furthermore, in the 1980s, two new types of steroids are developed. In 1983, scientists successfully clone the gene for human erythropoietin (EPO), followed by the production of synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) in 1985.

The ban on the sale of anabolic steroids without a prescription in the United States is a result of various events. One such event occurred during the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, where Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in the 100-meter race for testing positive for stanozolol, a steroid. In 1990, the NFL implemented year-round drug testing to discourage players from using steroids during their offseason. Moreover, in 1991, a federal law was passed that made it illegal to sell or possess anabolic steroids in the United States without a valid prescription from a doctor.

In 1998, several significant instances related to steroids occurred. Firstly, customs agents found 13 vials of HGH in the possession of a Chinese swimmer who arrived for the world championships. Additionally, vials of EPO were discovered in a car owned by the French Festina team during the Tour de France. Consequently, charges were brought against various riders and support crew members for doping, resulting in their suspension. Finally, Mark McGwire from the St. Louis Cardinals confessed to using androstenedione. In recent years, numerous reforms and policies have been put in place to effectively enforce the prohibition of steroids

In 2005, the NHL established a policy for testing performance-enhancing drugs. Players go through two tests annually and face varying consequences based on their results. A first offense leads to a 20-game suspension, while a second offense results in a 60-game suspension. A third offense results in a permanent ban, although players can request reinstatement after two years.

During this time, baseball player Jose Canseco disclosed his own use of steroids in his book “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big.” He also accused several MLB stars of using performance-enhancing drugs. These instances serve as significant moments in the history of steroids as they demonstrate how this industry has evolved over time and become one of the most complex occupations globally through the creation of synthetic hormones.

From my perspective, studying history allows us to learn from past mistakes. However, my research suggests that some individuals remain unaware of our limitations. While steroids may offer extraordinary strength or improved speed, achieving these results still necessitates traditional hard work. Ultimately, athletes who utilize steroids deceive both themselves and others.

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