Essay on Criticism

Topics: Poetry, Learning, Writing Pages: 3 (910 words) Published: March 13, 2008
As a student, I am constantly learning new things and obtaining knowledge that I had not once had. The irony in learning new things is that it only makes me realize how many other things I need to learn as well. Learning how to solve a math equation can be incredibly difficult and sometimes frightening. Realizing that the equation I just learned to solve will lead me to a harder and much more confusing equation, is even more frightening. Obtaining knowledge is a long journey that never seems to end. Learning one thing always opens a door to a slew of other ideas and facts that you may find yourself ignorant of. In Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism", Pope explains poetically that the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know anything.

"An Essay on Criticism" is written in iambic pentameter and arranged into five separate paragraphs. Pope, the narrator of the poem, begins the poem by stating, "A little learning is a dangerous thing." This very first sentence sets the theme of the poem, which is that acquiring knowledge will lead you on a never-ending journey of learning. An allusion is made to the muses drinking from a spring, "Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring." This is addressed to young writers and a paradox is used, "a little learning is a dangerous thing." Pope states that the best writing comes from the young because they are constantly learning about the world around them and do not restrain their thoughts

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and imaginations, "in fearless youth we attempt the heights of arts." Although Pope believes that the youth have broad imaginations, he finds them to be incredibly naïve, "shorts views we take, nor see the lengths behind." Youngsters do not look past their own actions to see the consequences. Pope continues to explain that the youth does not look past what something obviously is, "the first clouds and mountains seem to be the last", but only sees what is right in front of them. Pope finds the...
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