John Clare, in the Shepherd’s Calendar, smoothly connects ideas and images throughout his poetry. The months that Clare speaks of are based on a common theme and enable the reader to fluidly interpret the different stories Clare is writing about. I feel as if Clare is almost writing in a way that resembles a stream of consciousness writing style. This is most apparent when reading his prose writings. The flow of the essay format for Clare seems to be strained and unnatural. His poetry however, is able to seamlessly flow and transmit his message without being subject to grammatical structure that misconstrues his messages in the essay format of Natural History Prose Writings. The voice of Clare in his prose writing seems to be stronger and more deliberate than in his poetry. Clare states, “Ignorance of Nature in large City’s that are nothing less than overgrown prisons that shut out the world and all its beautys” (124). John Clare draws from stories and experiences and then suddenly drops an opinionated line in his essay format of prose. This is seen time and time again, especially when Clare is speaking of ants, and says “if they accidentally fall into the track of those at labour that quickens their pace and sudden retreat I have fancied these to be the idle and discontented sort of radicals to the government” (127). The entire story of ants leads up to his conclusion that he sees similarities between ants and humans and their interaction with following authority. Clare is able to express his beliefs by delving into his nature stories, however, the links between his stories and the messages within them seem to be weakly tied together and unfitting with the lack of punctuation that is apparent in Clare’s prose writings.
I also see John Clare as being more responsive to his surrounding environment when using poetry. He paints pictures for his reader without dragging on or trying to connect dissimilar ideas—as seen in his prose. His poetry takes on its own...
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