Formalistic Approach Applied to the Poem “Order for Masks”

1730 WordsFeb 13, 20107 Pages
Formalistic Approach Applied to the Poem “Order for Masks” First and foremost this paper endeavors to appreciate the piece of poetry written by Virginia Moreno. Without having any knowledge regarding the author’s life and time, this paper will try to stand on its own as an entity in itself. It is worthy to note that, a lot of patience for the critic as well as for the evaluator is needed to fully understand the meaning of this poem. After the first reading of the poem, I could only grasp how ambiguous the poem could get. This narrative poem written in free verse speaks about a persona who wears a mask to portray certain as a task to the three men in her life. The narration of the female persona talks to Billiken which is actually a…show more content…
19 When my father comes 20 Make me one so like 21 His child once eating his white bread in trance 22 Philomela before she was raped The second mask of the persona is for her father. From lines 19 to 22, the desire to have the mask designed with a face of innocence, naïve and childlike. However, line 21 could mean that the child is in a state of complete mental absorption or deep musing. Seemingly in line 22, Philomela is used again as an allusion to represent the personality that the persona wanted to be like. In Greek Mythology, Philomela was raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus. The Philomela being referred to in the poem is the one that is virginal, pure and unadulterated. 23 I hope by likeness 24 To make him believe this is the same kind 25 The chaste face he made 26 And my blind Lear will walk me out 27 Without a word 28 Fearing to peer behind In lines 23-25, the persona expresses her yearning towards being like a child she once was. And on line 26, the father this time is compared to King Lear from Shakespeare’s drama—an aging King of Britain whose downfall was caused by his daughters. That is why, in lines 26-28, we can see that her father fears to peer behind because he is afraid that his child would also cause his downfall. Again line 26 shows the phrase ‘will walk me out’ which portends that the persona’s attempt to please her father is futile. .29 If my lover comes 30

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