Critical Analysis

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Critical Analysis of “The Ideal” and ‘”Mistakes of Past” From learning to ride your first bike or to going to the movies with your old friends, memories of the past are special things that are both everlasting and very important. A theme of James Fenton’s poem “The Ideal” is to live by your past because it cannot be changed, erased, or forgotten; it makes you who you are. One of the major literary devices used in this poem is rhyme. There are three rhymes in total and he rhymes the second and fourth lines of each stanza. The two rhyming words that he uses include way and say. To help demonstrate the theme of the poem, Fenton writes, “This is where I come from/ I passed this way”. This suggests that a person’s past shapes what they are today. People take different paths in life, and with that comes different experiences. These various journeys cannot be changed because they have already taken place, and they can potentially alter a person’s life. Also, James Fenton writes “A self is a self/ It is not a screen”. This suggests that one should not hide behind something they are not. It is hard to admit where you come from and who you are, but you should not lie about the person inside of you. Finally the poet writes, “This is my past/which I shall not discard”. This explains that people tend to reflect all the negative energy and experiences in their life. They do not want to recall all the depressing memories in their past, so they choose to forget. But at the end of the day, they learn that the past cannot be forgotten or erased because it made them who they are. Therefore, “The Ideal” helps portray that the past cannot be altered and it helps bring out your inner self. A theme of Keli Mims’s poem “Mistakes of Past” is that you should live by your past because it cannot be changed, erased, or forgotten; it makes you who you are. A literary device used in this poem is rhyme. The poet rhymes every two lines like past and last. To help illustrate the theme, the...
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