Formalistic Approach to Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat (Favourite)

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Formalistic Approach to Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat (Favourite)   

 

Formal analysis of poetry helps to unfold the underlying meaning of a poem. This technique does not focus on the author of the poem, or what was happening in history during the time when the poem was written, but instead puts emphasis on the actual mean of the work. Formal analysis breaths life into the literary work and allows the poem to speak for itself. For example, in Thomas Grays' poem "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes," paying close attention to word choice, structure, and rhyme scheme illuminates the actions of the prowling cat.

 

The most important aspect in writing poetry is word
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Word choice is the key to allowing the reader to visualize what the author is trying to portray.

 

Aside from description, key words can be used to help feel emotion and build suspense. By looking at this, the reader is able to see the transition of the cat from feeling happy and calm to scared for its life. In the second stanza, as the cat watches the gold fish she "purr'd applause"(12). However, this happiness soon turns to fear. The second to last stanza of the poem reads as follows, "Eight times emerging from the flood"(31). The word eight in this sense is playing off the saying that cats have nine lives. By writing that the cat had emerged eight times shows that the cat only has one life left. This adds suspense by showing that the cat is about to die. What was once a purr is now heard as a cry as "she mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry God"(32).

 

The chronological structure of this poem helps to eliminate confusion with each stanza adding a piece of the story. Each stanza follows the pattern of an aabccd pattern. This means that the six line stanzas follow a pattern of two lines rhyming followed by a single line that does not. The two rhyming lines each contain eight syllables with the non-rhyming lines generally containing six syllables. This also adds uniformity to the poem. The first stanza describes the setting; a cat lazily watching goldfish. The second stanza describes that physical appearance of the cat, which is then followed in the next stanza
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