Basking Shark

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BASKING SHARK
COMMENTARY
The basking shark is a poem talking about the encounter a man had with a certain species of shark – the basking shark. The encounter is filled with vivid detail, with imagery and diction that helps in setting the attitude of the poem, the tone, the human condition and the strengthening brought out to the poem, based on the imagery and structure. The poet presents the shark in a ver subdued manner, not hinting at the shark directly. Instead, he forst describes the shark as a ‘roomsized monster’, and that gives the impression to the reader that the poet is afraid of the shark, and looks at the shark as a creature that is not to be messed with, as it is definitely not friendly. However, while he fears the shark, he also insults the shark, by hitting at his intelligence, claiming that the shark only has a brain the size of a ‘matchbox’ implying that the shark is indeed stupid, as huge, scary creature (implied earliar with the word monster) as that, has a very small brain, and that can in turn affect the sharks judgement. The diction used is used to imply that the shark does not belong, and is in fact the ‘ugly duckling’. This is brought out by this example: “...this decadent townee, shook on a wrong branch of his family tree”. This example petrays the fact that the poet is talking about a basking shark, and based on the prior knowledge he has, it is a harmless shark, but due to the immense size it can grow, it can terrorize innocent people, hence the reference to ‘monster’. However, the writer feels that due to its huge size, it does not belong to the species of basking sharks, but instead belongs to another species, one that would be more appropriate to fit its size. This, in turn, creates a tone of exclusion. When the poet also uses the word decadent, it just strengthens the tone he is trying to create, as due to the exclusion of the basking shark, it is declining in numbers! This also has a connection with the mood in the poem, as the...
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