A Formal Application

830 Words2 Pages

The Ambiguity of Death

Since the creation of man, certain primal urges have been imprinted into the human being’s psyche. Out of many of those the instinct of death is included, probably stemming from the necessity of killing to obtain one’s food. The instinct of death remains today and has been changed, adapted, suppressed and exemplified. In "A Formal Application" the ironic theory of applying death as a way of life is portrayed through a man’s act of killing a bird. The poem flows through the practice, planning and execution of a common bird. The climax of the poem comes when he refers to his act of violence as an "Audubon Crucifix". Through various examples in history he validates this unnecessary crucifix. "A Formal Application" rejoins the human race by immortalizing the importance of death.
The structure of the poem is separated into three sections containing three stanza’s each. There is no apparent rhyme scheme making it a free verse and prose piece. The setting is outside, most likely close to the speakers house, and surrounded by forest and wildlife. It takes place in the mid 1900’s and probably in the spring-time. This piece is compiled of nine triplets separated into three sections. The first section of three triplets starts with the speaker honing his knife throwing skills.
In the first section the speaker starts his training. By this practice he automatically tells us that he wants for this action to happen perfectly. By perfecting his skills he confirms to us the importance of this act to him. In the first stanza he begins to learn how to inflict pain with his knife by throwing it. He molds a kitchen utensil into a fatal weapon by enhancing his throwing skills. The second stanza shows his progression from merely throwing the knife, to hitting a target. The last stanza involves him targeting a moving object. This indicates he will be inflicting harm on a living thing with his weapon of choice
With his means of weaponry defined we learn he still needs not only a moving target but a living one. The next section of triplets signifies his planning and enticing of his prey. In the first stanza he starts to weave his lesson of deception by "teaching" the birds. By tricking the birds into thinking he is a source of food, he gains the necessary element of surprise he needs for his later crucifixion.

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