English Essay on Cynics

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Chris Mann – Cynics

This essay will critically analyse Chris Mann’s Cynics, it will discuss the poem’s subject matter and message, and pay close attention to the relationship between the poem’s content and form, how Mann’s language, imagery, tone use of rhetorical questions contribute to the poem’s effectiveness. This essay will also explore how an awareness of the political context out of which the poem arises, helps the reader appreciate its significance, meaning and power as a ‘critique’ and how the features of the poem makes it distinctively South African.

The form of this poem is free verse, which means that this poem has no set pattern, rhythm or rhyme. This is often used so that the poet can create a visual shape to support the poem’s message. The form used in stanza two and three show the intensity of Mann’s true feelings towards the cynics, and by using enjambment the reader is able to grasp the feelings expressed by Mann even more.

The content of this poem shows us the passion Mann has against cynics however, he expresses these deep feelings in a cynical matter. The form and content of this poem link because they both relate in the way that Mann feels, the language and the way the poem was written both help enhance the poem’s intensity and the emotions and feelings of Mann against cynics.

The language of the poem is quite simple yet very descriptive, Mann uses words such as “backstabber”, “Cunning flatterers”, “malevolent eyes”, “pessimist”, and “innocence” which helps the reader create a picture in their mind of the poem’s deeper meaning. The imagery of the poem is very capturing, and helps the reader ‘see’ exactly what Mann wants us to see. In this poem Mann creates an image of bitter and evil people, who are in poor areas that you cannot trust.

The tone of this poem is very matter of fact, Mann portrays that he knows everything about cynical people and he knows exactly what they are like and what type of people they are, this...
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