Cleanth Brooks And Robert Penn Warren's Poetry As A Way Of Saying

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The thought-provoking essay “Poetry as a Way of Saying” by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren provides an educational direction for a reader’s comprehension and understanding of the “naturalness” of poetry. They claim in this critical text that “mere immersion does little good unless the reader is making, however unconsciously, some discriminations, comparisons, and judgements” (16). As illustrated in “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas, the raw power and emotion that he uses to deal with death is quite the opposite when compared to Emily Dickinson’s calmness about it in her poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death.” To completely understand and feel each narrator’s perspective on death, it is essential that the reader …show more content…
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Instead of breezing right through the poem, the reader tends to pause and absorb each line and the meaning she is trying to communicate within it. Thomas, on the other hand, uses very powerful, fast-moving words such as “Rage, rage” and “Curse, bless” to give his poem strength and intense impact (1182). This togetherness, or verbal sound, in each poem makes it easier to follow and hear, which, in turn, is “another aspect of the ‘naturalness’ of poetry that Brooks and Warren claim is needed within the poem (3).
Brooks and Warren suggest that metaphor in poetry is a “natural—even essential—way of expression” and that although it can be considered a “way of saying,” it can also be what is being “said” (4-5). Dickinson uses several metaphors in her poem. For death, it is a seemingly kind gentleman who stops for the narrator along his way. “The Carriage” is her metaphor for her passage or journey to her death bed which turns out to be “a House that seemed a Swelling of the Ground” (1253). Thomas, on the contrary, uses “good night” and “dying of the light” as his metaphorical symbol of death and his sufferings over his father’s willingness to accept his own death (1182). Both authors use extended metaphors, which are basically the use of a single comparative metaphor that continues throughout the poem. Dickinson’s main character is her extended metaphor for death. He appears rather quickly at the beginning of her poem in line two, “He kindly stopped
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. . is ultimately of value only insofar as it can return readers to the poem itself-return them, that is, prepared to experience it more immediately, fully, and, shall we say, innocently. The poem is an experience, yes, but it is a deeply significant experience, and criticism aims only at making the reader more aware of the depth and range of the experience” (16). Brooks and Warren’s goal is to take away a readers’ preconceived impression of what poetry is, to really break down each piece and throw themselves into the meaning and story that the authors are trying to express. If a reader does not pay attention to the verbal structure, metaphor and tone of the poem, he or she will never truly experience and appreciate the naturalness and beauty of

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