The River Merchant Wife A Letter By Li Po Analysis Essay

Presentation on theme: "Ezra Pound 1855 – 1972. Ezra Pound 1.Life 2.Works 3.Analysis 4. Sample (A Pact ; In a Station of the Metro ; A River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ezra Pound 1855 – 1972

2 Ezra Pound 1.Life 2.Works 3.Analysis 4. Sample (A Pact ; In a Station of the Metro ; A River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter)

3 Life (1)born in Idaho, raised in Pennsylvania (2)entered University of Penn., studied Romance languages (3)traveled in Eu. and lead the Imagist movement (4)broke with Amy Lowell and lived in Italy

4 Life (5)supported Mussolini in the second world war and after the war he was jailed because of betraying his motherland (6)With the help of T. S. Elliot and some other famous writers, he was released and lived in hospital.

5 Works Famous poems: “In a Station of the Metro”; “A Pact” Collections:  “Homage to Sextus Propertius” (modern translation of Old Roman poems)  “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” (condemned the commercialization and depravity of arts and showed his own point of views on poetry and art)

6 Works “Cantos” (intellectual diary since 1915; no single clue; divided into many sections and each contributes to a different theme; showing author’s point of views on many aspects, such as politics, economy, arts, culture etc.)

7 Analysis (1)He was influenced by Greek, Italy and Chinese poets. (2)He wrote some fresh short poems and also some all-inclusive long poems. (3)Personal tone; open and spontaneous style (4)Difficult to read and study; great influence on modern poetry

8 A Pact Pound’s forthright confrontation with Walt Whitman, allows the poet to come to terms with a debt to his American forebear, the father of free verse expressionism. Flaunting hatred of a dismally self- limiting poet, Pound depicts himself as the petulant child of an obstinate father, but stops short of a meaningless tantrum. By reining himself in the fifth line, he gives over peevish vengeance to acknowledge the development of modernism from its foundations. From this “new wood” that Whitman exposed, Pound intends to carve the future of poetry, thus achieving a “commerce” between himself and his predecessor.

9 In a Station of the Metro This short piece illustrates his imagistic talent because the entire poem deals with images alone. It is not complex; rather, the two-line poem is straightforward and to the point. Yes, the poem is extremely short, but it seems intriguing and has a deep message about the beauty of human beings.

10 In a Station of the Metro One word that overshadows all the rest in line one is APPARITION. The word "apparition" alone means a ghostly figure, something strange or unusual that suddenly comes into view. Pound may have seen different faces in a Paris subway and defined the "faces in the crowd" with the illustration of pure beauty or images of flawless human beings. The reason for formulating such assertion is because of this: with the meaning and usage of the word apparition, it enables Pound to convey the expression of shock and awe once he steps into the metro station. It's almost as if he discovers the faces in the crowd surprisingly. More importantly, he may have not seen the faces clearly and saw only a blur that he interpreted as a vision of attractiveness.

11 In a Station of the Metro The second line of the poem renders one word that overshadows all the rest: PETALS. Petals are vibrant flowers that have different colors and represent beauty when blossomed, which he identifies as the "faces in the crowd." Additionally, petals are flowers that come in various shades, sizes, shapes, and so forth - akin to human beings. Therefore, Pound perhaps envisioned the people in the crowd as beautiful, for the diversity they embodied.

12 In a Station of the Metro In all, the poem is incredibly short - but meaningful - and takes the meaning of short poems to its purest form. However, the images are captivating and make the poem move beyond the literal, for the two images that stand out are APPARITION and PETALS. When one thinks of apparition, the first thing that comes to mind is a ghostly figure. When one thinks of petals, something delightful comes to mind.

13 In a Station of the Metro Thus, Pound takes the two words and morphs them together as one to get a greater effect, meaning that when he saw mysterious faces in the crowd with various colors and shapes, it was a good-looking sight in his eyes. The poem shows that whatever color, size, or shape a person is, he or she still has some characteristics of beauty - regardless of their outer appearance.

14 The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter Lines 1-6 This opening stanza of 6 lines is organized around a central image of the river-merchant and his wife as a child, confirmed by the first component of the central image: the picture of a little girl with her hair cut in bangs. (The mark of an adult woman in the ancient Chinese culture was elaborate arrangements of uncut long hair.) Each line contributes to a clearer understanding of the central image of the children. The repetition in three separate lines of the verb "playing" to describe the little girl's activity at the front gate, as well as the little boy's presence on stilts and his circling around where she sits, emphasizes the natural, contented activity of children — almost as a part of the natural world referred to here by "flowers" and "blue plums." This stanza establishes the presence of the "I" and the "you" in the world of the poem.

15 Lines 11-14 The central image of this stanza is the growth of love between the young husband and wife. Her face, which in the first stanza has the bangs of childhood across her forehead, in the second stanza is averted and unsmiling, "stops scowling" in the third stanza. The vows of the marriage ceremony, "till death us do part," are evoked in lines 12 and 13 and poignantly reinforced by the triple repetition in line 13 of "forever." It is unclear whether "climb the lookout" in line 14 is a reference to a ritual performed in this culture by a wife after death, perhaps to look for other offers to marry that might come her way. If it is, it means that the wife as a widow does not want to do this. In any case, it is clear that there is nothing she wishes for after the death of her husband, so deep is her love for him now.

16 Lines 15-18 An image of separation is developed in these lines as the husband takes on his role as a river-merchant and travels the waters, conducting his work in the world on a distant island. The wife's statement of the length of his absence is expressed in one line, giving it full and emphatic force. And in line 18 the effect of this long absence is brought to full comprehension by the use of the natural image of the sounds of the monkeys that reflect back to her the sound of her own sorrow. The sounds that monkeys make are generally interpreted as chirping, happy sounds, but the weight of the wife's sorrow is so great that she can only hear the monkeys' noise as "sorrowful."

17 Lines 19-21 The first three lines of this final 11-line stanza are centered on the image of the river-merchant's absence. Line 19 indicates that he was as averse to this separation as she was. In line 20 the phrase "by the gate" (perhaps the same gate they played about as children), indicates that she has returned to this gate and in her memory sees him reluctantly leaving again. For her it is the scene of the beginning of his absence. And evidently she knows this scene well: not only is there moss growing there, but she is aware that there are different kinds of mosses, which she has not cleared away since his departure. They are now too deep to clear away.

18 Lines 22-25 In line 22 the sadness of the river-merchant's wife is again reflected back to her by the natural world, by the falling leaves and wind of autumn. This image becomes more defined with her observation of the butterflies in the garden, for they are "paired" as she is not, and they are becoming "yellow" changing with the season, growing older together. The butterflies "hurt" her because they emphasize the pain of her realization that she is growing older, but alone, not with her husband.

19 Lines 26-29 In these closing lines of the poem and the "letter" the river-merchant's wife reaches out from her lonely world of sorrow to her husband in a direct request: Please let me know when and by what route you are returning, so that I may come to meet you. This, however, conveys more than it would at first appear. Her village is a suburb of Nanking and she is willing to walk to a beach several hundred miles upstream from there to meet her husband, so deeply does she yearn to close the distance between them.

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead

I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.

You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,

You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.

And we went on living in the village of Chōkan:

Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.

I never laughed, being bashful.

Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.

Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,

I desired my dust to be mingled with yours

Forever and forever, and forever.

Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed

You went into far Ku-tō-en, by the river of swirling eddies,

And you have been gone five months.

The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.

By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,

Too deep to clear them away!

The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.

The paired butterflies are already yellow with August

Over the grass in the West garden;

They hurt me.

I grow older.

If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,

Please let me know beforehand,

And I will come out to meet you

As far as Chō-fū-Sa.


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