English 3341—Fall 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
New Criticism Analysis of The Crate (Francis Ponge) VS. A Dog After Love (Yehuda Amichai)
As defined by the editors of the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, mentioned in a handout given by Professor Tomás Q. Morin, New Critics have the ability to “treat a work of literature as if it were a self-contained, self-referential object,” rather than intently evaluating a poem on the basis of the reader’s emotional connection, the authorial intent, or the author’s biographical and historical information. In simple words, New Critics take an intrinsic approach focusing on the form and text in which everything that is necessary in being able to interpret a piece of literature is solely hidden and interconnected in the poem (literary object) itself. This aids the reader to understand what the poem is communicating, as well as how the literary object is being communicated. This differs from the variety of extrinsic approaches, including history and biography. Being able to define the role of the interpreter who is the New Critic permits the reader to interpret simple, yet condensed poetry/ text with oblique phrases and/or sentences per stanza in poems such as, The Crate (Le Cageot) by Francis Ponge and A Dog After Love by Yehuda Amichai. As a result, the reader is able to properly interpret each piece of poetry which allows the value and radiance of the poetry to be seen and well appreciated solely through applying the standards while reading. In contrast, a reader who is unfamiliar and unknowledgeable of the obligatory principles and standards will find it difficult when attempting to read-between-the-lines of diverse poems. Some popular literary standards and principles utilized by New Critics during interpretation include terms such ambiguity, symbolism, metaphor, irony, tension, and paradox. The collection of these terms used in their individual context assist the reader to discover the harmony in the literary objects with the exclusive goal of achieving ambiguity. In the following, I will use and evaluate various aspects to properly analyze each work of poetry, and then compare and contrast The Crate by Francis Ponge and A Dog After Love by Yehuda Amichai.
The trademark of Francis Ponge’s many poems is zooming in on and highlighting ordinary objects that are not normally thoroughly examined or appreciated when first glanced upon by the human eye. In one of his famous works of poetry, The Crate, Ponge zooms the reader on a particular object called a crate, which is halfway between a cage and a “dungeon” (line one of stanza one, The Crate). As the reader can see, the purpose of this “simple slatted case (container)” (line two of stanza one, The Crate) is to transport fruits are that sure to spoil or “give up the ghost” (line three of stanza one, The Crate) if slightly hinting suffocation or “shortness of breath” (line three of stanza one, The Crate) in the container. In lines three to six of stanza two, Ponge highlights to the reader that the life line of the crate is short-lived in the expression that it “is not used twice” (line five of stanza two, The Crate), since it is disposed after one single use. In lines seven to twelve of stanza three, Ponge illustrates the glistening glow of the wooden crate that can be located “at the corner of every street leading to the marketplace” (line seven of stanza three, The Crate). The astonishment of this awkwardly positioned “spanking new” crate meets its fate of being permanently deserted in the street. It will always be cordially liked but hardly gain the admiration it could, simply because our eyes find “little point (or purpose) in dwelling” (line twelve of stanza three, The Crate) longer than they should.
It should not surprise the reader that irony of the crate’s eternal fate would end up in the deserted streets walked by normal shoppers of the marketplace. As it mentions in the poem the...
Cited: 1. Abrams, M.H. "New Criticism." A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999. 180-182
2. Murfin, Ross, and Supryia M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997.
3. Searle, Leroy. “New Criticism.” The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Eds. Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1994. 528-34. Print.
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