The poem “An Opinion on the Question of Pornography” is a comparison of intellectual intercourse and sexual intercourse. At times, Szymborska finds intellectual pursuits more worthwhile than sexual ones. When regarding sexual intercourse, she has a consistently negative tone and constantly uses words with a negative connotation, referring to unchaste girls as “degenerate” and says that those whom are contented by pornographic magazines are “simple-hearted”. These negative depictions of sexual desire direct the reader to perceive sexual beings in a negative light, as it is considered a shortcoming to be “simple-hearted” or “degenerate”. When referring to intellectual intercourse, she considers there to be nothing greater or more appealing. In intellectual intercourse, there is no subject that cannot be touched. Her bias towards intellectuality as opposed to sexuality reveals to the reader that knowledge is the superior pursuit. Still, Szymborska sometimes finds that intellectual intercourse is just as corrupt as sexual intercourse. The first line of th...
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...d. She needs to know her place in the universe before she can understand its secrets. Though the understanding she could gather from entrance to the stone would cleanse her, it is too powerful for her. Knowledge is so powerful that it is not to be given to those who cannot fully understand it, so the stone will not grant her entrance. And if the speaker’s place in the universe is inside the stone, then the speaker will gain entrance to the stone.
Wislawa Szymborska values knowledge and intellect, but she acknowledges that there are some things just as wonderful as it (understanding), some things more important than it (faith), some things as corrupt as it (sex), and some things it cannot be without (belief). Knowledge has the ability to destroy and to create, the ability to cleanse or to corrupt. Knowledge is dangerous, volatile, compelling, and well worth pursuing.
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