Asian Social Science
Stylistic Analysis of “40-Love” Written by McGough
Meihua Xu School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Chongqing Normal University Chongqing 400047, China E-mail: meihua852032.student @ sina.com Abstract The aesthetical form has always been stressed in poetry. Efforts have been exerted on the skillful combination of rhythm and structure to create numerous great works all over the world. This article tries to analyze the unique features in structure, words, phonology, syntax and rhetoric in the poem of 40-Love by British poet Roger McGough in order to have a deeper understanding of the content and form of a poem. Keywords: McGough, 40-Love, Love, Style 1. Introduction It is well known that in a variety of literary genres, the form of poetry has been stressed most. Efforts have been exerted on the skillful combination of rhythm and structure to create numerous great works all over the world. Modern American poet E. E. Cummings (1884-1962) is a good case in point. He is famous for odd style, novel and unique form in the poetic world. His “l (a” has been regarded as the “the most elegant and beautiful structure of the literature created by Cummings”. (Kennedy, 1980). Therefore, his poems are renowned as “poem picture” or “visual poetry”, or the concrete poetry that we are quite familiar with. The features of it is that vivid visual images of words coming from irregular syllables, letters, punctuation, syntax, format and print strengthen the internal imagination of poetry, deepen the artistic conception, convey and enrich the connotation. (Abrams, 2005). Coincidentally, besides E. E. Cummings, contemporary British poet Roger McGough (1937- ) is another master in writing concrete poems. His 40-Love can be considered as one of the greatest concrete poems. McGough is the second of the three in Liverpool Group. The other two are Henry Adrian Henri and Patan Brian Patten. McGough, born in 1937, 5 years younger than Henry, is always in naughty mentality. His poems are full of secular fun and display more profound life from the perspective of a child. This article, from the viewpoint of stylistics, analyzes the features of structure, words, phonology, syntax and rhetoric in the poem of “40-Love” in order to gain a deeper understanding of this poem. 2. Stylistic Analysis Greek poet Simonides once said, “Poetry is the picture with sound while the pictures are the silent poems.” (Zhu, 2005). That is to say, the content of a poem must be combined with its form to achieve its perfection, namely, the combination of form and spirit, what we often cherish. Here we will try to find how Mcgough do it in his “40-Love”. The poem tells that a middle-aged couple is playing tennis. Then they go home. But the net is still between them. It reflects the gap between middle-aged couples. I will quote the poem here to help to explain my opinion. 40-Love (Peng, 2000) middle couple tenwhen game and go the 118
aged playing nis the ends they home net
Asian Social Science will be tween 2.1 Structure still be – them
As a whole, the poem has a total of 20 words. But the two words “tennis” and “between” are separated by hyphens to be symmetric in structure. The words in the poem are set in two sequences, like two sides of the couple. The middle blank or empty is like a net to separate the two. There are only two words in each line to symbolize the bouts of the ball. The title of 40-love, the top of the net, is right on the top of the poem, signifying the scoreboard. This poem looks like a tennis court with a net being used to separate the words. It is like a tennis game. This side serves and the other side hits back. Many bouts form the poem. The invisible net is like the barrier between the middle-aged couple. Even if they finish the tennis game, they still have the net, which still exists invisibly. However, it is this net that they can depend on to handle their marriage and have the...