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    A London Fete Essay

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    It puts the reader in the moment and gives them a sense of what is taking place. Following the climax of the poem, it resumes its iambic tetrameter base style, essentially calming the reader and attempting to create a sense of routine following the excitement of the “celebration. ” Its rhythm is a contrast to the rather violent events that are still taking place and the acceptance of these events as both appropriate and normal: “A baby strung its doll to a stick;/ A mother praised the pretty trick:” (42/ 43).

    Despite what the rhythm suggests, these events are just as brutal as the hanging and leave the reader feeling uneasy and unsettled. The return to the poem’s base metrics helps suggest that these violent events are “normal,” thus underscoring the ironic tone first set in the poem’s title. The use of devices such as alliterative language and onomatopoeia emphasize the sinister theme of the poem. The repeated use of the unvoiced consonant ‘s,’ most notably in lines 15-24 and 36-40, calls to mind the hiss of a restless crowd.

    It also likens the noise of the crowd to the hiss of a snake, long a symbol of evil action when depicted in literature (most notably in the bible, lending the weight of moral judgment to the author’s words). The onomatopoeic effect of words such as “clanged” (2) “bawled” (14), “roar” (27), “burst” (28) and “clatter” (35) accentuates the dissonance and ugliness of the day’s events. From the first line, the repetition of particular words has a similar effect; “… shock on shock” incorporates all three of these devices and alludes to the poem’s shocking climax.

    The overall effect of the language used is both phonetically and figuratively harsh. One would hope that after reading “A London Fete” one takes the time to consider one’s own behavior when placed in a (time appropriate) similar situation. The text seems to urge the reader to reflect on their social and moral conscience – to compare and contrast their behavior with that of the mob in the poem. How likely are it that our own society would behave in such a manner and to whom shall we be held accountable if not ourselves?

    The poem is a dark commentary on the difference between what we present as our standards of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and how we often stray from these standards when the opportunity presents itself. I found this to be a difficult and yet interesting assignment. Difficult in that I had not been asked to critique a poem since high school and had to refresh my memory on just what I should be looking for. It was interesting because I often take literature at its face value, especially when reading strictly for pleasure. It was fun to “look a little deeper” at a poem, and to speculate about what the author may have intended for it to say.

    It was also interesting because the author was not given. This allowed me to draw my own conclusions about the piece without taking into consideration any of the biases created by age, gender, era, etc. Overall, I was often quite challenged but enjoyed th2e experience.

    Works Cited: 1. “A London Fete” (text supplied by instructor, other details withheld) 2. Parrot, E. O. ed. How To Be Well Versed in Poetry. London: Penguin, 1990 Assignment #1: A Critical Analysis of “A London Fete” By Alana Wilson Date: Monday, October 04, 2004 Class: Eng 203. 6 Insturctor: Dr. L. M. Findlay Student #: 950326.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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