April 8, 2011
“The lesson of the moth” Analysis by Don Marquis
The title of this poem by Don Marquis is "The Lesson of the Moth" because it is a poem about the thoughts of a moth and his outlook on life. The overall poem would be considered argumentative being the moth is trying to inform the man that he should live his life and let his hair down a little more instead of relishing the everyday routines of life. This is shown in paragraph 3 when the moth says “But we get bored with the routine/and crave beauty/and excitement.”(18-20)Another example of the passage being argumentative is when the man says “and before I could argue him/out of his philosophy.”(43-44) Don Marquis expressed several tones to the overall poem. In paragraph 1 the tone is contemplative being that the man was studying the moth trying to break in an electric bulb and wondering why the moth would do such a thing. As the poem transitions into paragraph 2, the tone becomes more argumentative. Then as the paragraph begins to transition more into the third paragraph, the tone becomes more passionate when the moth starts asking the man about doing the same routine and craving excitement. In addition, this part of the poem is where the author begins to utilize ethos because of the moth expressing his strong emotion in regards to excitement and beauty. As the poem progresses on to paragraph 3 the tone is very optimistic and hopeful. This is shown when the moth is convincing the man that it is better to live with spontaneity for a short time on this earth and have excitement then living your entire life with the same routine and never been able to experience excitement. In regards to the optimistic side of the tone in paragraph 3, this is shown when the moth states “so we wad all our life up/into one little roll/and then we shoot the roll/that is what life is for.” (31-34) In paragraph 4, the tone switches to acceptance. This part of the poem is where the man...
Cited: Marquis, Don. "The Lesson of the Moth." Reading Literature and Writing Argument. Ed. Missy James and Alan P. Merickel. New Jersey: Pearson, 2008. 184-185. Print.
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