Essay on The Ballad Of Reading Gaol By Oscar Wilde And The Great Hunger

Essay on The Ballad Of Reading Gaol By Oscar Wilde And The Great Hunger

Length: 1153 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Ireland has produced some of the most distinct styles of poetry and writing. Its fantastic landscape has inspired a love of nature and has become a common theme in poetry. Imagery used in these literary works depict horizons of green, wondrous vegetation and often gloom skies. Another common theme in Irish poetry is hardship as the country has experienced more than its fair share throughout time. Two Irish poets have become immortalized through their works: “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde and “The Great Hunger” by Patrick Kavanagh. Both poems are narratives that have dropped the traditional romanticism of ballads in order to depict great hardship. These poems are written in very different ways and yet are very successful in telling their message of beauty and despair.
Oscar Wilde wrote his poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” because he wanted to expose the injustices of the English penal system. He was imprisoned due to indecent acts of homosexuality with his partner at the time. On 20 May 1895, Oscar Wilde was convicted of “gross indecency” and sentenced to two years of hard labor at Reading Gaol (Varty 31).
Oscar Wilde’s “The ballad of Reading Gaol” is written strictly in closed form. The poem is divided into six different part. There is a total of 109 stanzas with 654 lines altogether. There is a regular rhyme throughout the poem with every stanza being a sextet rhymed abcbdb. Within each stanza the lines alternate starting with an eight syllable line, followed by a six syllable line (Pascual 260). Wilde makes use of repetition with internal refrain. He does this because he wants to reinforce his ideas at set the gloomy atmosphere of the poem.
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little t...

... middle of paper ...

... Kavanagh invites the reader to:
…Kneel where the blind ploughman kneels
And learn to live without despairing
In a mud-walled space—
Illiterate, unknown and unknowing. (497-500)
This is a viewpoint that has been missing throughout Irish poetry and literature. Kavanagh was the first poet to effectively gasp the hardships of the common peasant.
These two writers, Wilde and Kavanagh, have demonstrated different ways of writing ballads. Both writers strayed away from the norm of romance to portray gloom and despair. Each used literary devices to best portray their message. “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” is highly structured and depressing, like how prisons are slaves to routine and death haunting around the corner. “The Great Hunger” is disorganized and chaotic, just like the man in turmoil who works till he cannot work anymore. Each one a masterpiece of Irish poetry.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Oscar Wilde 's Life And Writing Career

- Introduction: All throughout the countries there are individuals who have the fear of aging and becoming old. In “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Dorian was terrified that his self-portrait would stay his young and beautiful self, while he himself became aged and wrinkled. With this fear, he wished that the painting would age while he stayed young. Consequently, his wish had came true but it turned out for the worst. Similar to Dorian, the individuals who do not want to face the lessening of beauty as he or she age, have the opportunity to undergo surgery....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Better Essays
2136 words (6.1 pages)

Essay on Oscar Wilde: Typifying the Victorian Era

- Oscar Wilde was born in October 16, 1854, in the mid era of the Victorian period—which was when Queen Victoria ruled. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901.While she ruined Britain, the nation rise than never before, and no one thought that she was capable of doing that. “The Victorian era was both good and bad due to the rise and fall of the empires and many pointless wars were fought. During that time, culture and technology improved greatly” (Anne Shepherd, “Overview of the Victorian Era”)....   [tags: Literature, England, Gaol]

Better Essays
1223 words (3.5 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde liked to be right. Wait—no, no, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. Oscar Wilde liked people to think he was right. He had the uncanny ability of saying something that sounded good and then doing the exact opposite. Some would call that hypocrisy, but the more popular term for it seems to be “genius” judging by his status as a renowned writer and still-popular celebrity. Genius or not, Wilde knew how to put together a sentence. His life was one for the books, and his book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one ripe for the analysis....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Better Essays
1988 words (5.7 pages)

Self-Realizations Made in Prison in De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gao by Wilde, Moll Flanders by Defoe

- Prison Realizations Throughout this semester, and the multiple readings covered, a number of different prison scenes have been encountered. In many cases the prisons function as a location that restricts certain kinds of movements and actions while enabling others. Overall, one underlying message of the prison encounters through the texts is that prison can help people reach some sort of realization. Some texts enable a realization of self, while other texts enable a realization of a society as a whole, but regardless some sort of realization is met....   [tags: material, sins, society]

Better Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

Oscar Wilde Essay

- Between the years of 1837 and 1901, British history experienced a revolutionary period of economic and cultural growth. The new wealth that came with expansion created new class structures as an age of domesticity was inspired. As a result of this, the art world changed too. Writers became realistic as they believed they were serving a higher moral purpose while creating. They wrote of actual and practical life in the form of dramatic monologues. Visual imagery illustrated their emotions while their tone and sound reflected the poems meaning....   [tags: literature, Victorian era, poetry, controversy]

Better Essays
933 words (2.7 pages)

Oscar Wilde: Visionary Playwright and Forgotten Sodomite Essay

- “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”(Oscar Wilde) Just starting off in the world, this phrase can be a bit bemusing to the average student. Especially in the rigorous social norms of the Victorian age. But if this phrase was uttered at the end of his life, toward his downfall, the betrayal of his fans, the loss of a wife and a lover, his inevitable imprisonment; it would make much more sense for this troubled man. As an aesthetic to the core, Wilde used his unending wit to satirize the Victorian Era through his plays and novel....   [tags: romance, gay, aestheticism]

Better Essays
595 words (1.7 pages)

Oscar Wilde Essay

- Oscar Wilde Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. On October 16, 1854 Oscar (Fingal O’Flaghertie Wills) Wilde was born in Dublin. He is the son of Dr. William Wilde and the Irish Nationalist poet Jane F. Wilde (known as "Speranza", her pen name). Oscar grew up with very high expectations of him by his mother. He was enrolled at Trinity College, where he graduated by the age of seventeen and continued his schooling on a scholarship to Oxford....   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Better Essays
950 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Historical People from the Victorian Era

- ... Dickens is illustrating how dangerous it would be to make humans into machines, that lack imagination and compassion, and that suck a life would be unbearable. Charles Dickens Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth and is one of the greatest writers in the Victorian era. He lived in England and wrote novels and short stories, which criticized society. When Dickens was young his father was sent to prison and he had to leave school to go to work in a factory. This left him without any formal education, but still he was very successful....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning]

Better Essays
877 words (2.5 pages)

Oscar Wilde's Young King Essays

- Oscar Wilde's 'The Young King' is the tale of a young man's metamorphosis, through a dream quest, that opens his eyes to the heart rendering struggle of the poor, who are exploited by the rich and the powerful to satisfy their own selfish needs. The change that takes place in the Young King reflects his attainment of the virtue asked for in Christ's message. The story begins with "the night before the day fixed for his coronation" and the young king, "being but sixteen years of age" sits alone in his opulent chambers adorned with rich and beautiful things....   [tags: Oscar Wilde]

Free Essays
1777 words (5.1 pages)

Oscar Wilde Art Essay

- Oscar Wilde Art We begin another chapter in the life of Oscar Wilde, the year 1888, many things have taken place, Oscar has been married and bore two children, Vyvyan and Cyril and his touring of the United States and other countries have brought forth success to the literary giant. Some of his successful writings are "The Picture of Dorian Gray"(1891), "A Woman of No Importance"(1894) and his most resent essay known "The Decay of Lying". Is it true that lying has fallen to its deepest shadow of shame....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Writer Papers]

Better Essays
1491 words (4.3 pages)