Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Delight in Disorder

This is part of a series of reprints from my classes. Once the class is over, I will lose these if I don't save them elsewhere. I've decided to post them here as they may be of some interest. Here we were to analyze how the structure of a poem is used.

Robert Herrick makes use of rhythm and rhyme in “The Delight in Disorder” to call attention to parts of the poem that are disorderly. In the poem he describes a woman’s garb with attention to the ways that it is imperfect. He declares this imperfection to “[d]o more to bewitch me than when art; / Is too precise in every part.” (13-14) This point is also illustrated in his poem’s structure.

The poem uses closed form, a waltzing rhythm, and imperfect rhyme. Often the rhymes are close but to make them work a word must be pronounced oddly, with syllables stressed in unusual ways. In the case where “thrown” is rhymed with “distraction” the author relies on a foreign pronunciation to make the rhyme work. The form and rhythm help to emphasize traditional beauty, but the rhyme provokes delight in the reader and accurately demonstrates the poem’s subject.

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