Comparing Form and Content of Jabberwocky, The Raven, and Lady of Shalott

941 Words2 Pages

Comparing Form and Content of Jabberwocky, The Raven, and Lady of Shalott

In many poems, the use of imagery and sound causes the reader to consider them to be "good" or "bad". Repetition, alliteration, the use of metaphors and images together with rhymes and the text itself work together to create that special feeling or message the poet wants to share. The Romantics believed that poetry should express the poet's feelings or state of mind and should not be worked with or thought through too much, since the original feeling thus would be lost, but in order to share your feelings or ideas to the public, I believe it is important to present them in as good a form as possible.

If the author wants to create something worth reading, I believe he or she has to focus on both form and content of a poem - they are inseparable. Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" is probably one of the most famous poems which really have no content, but still the form (sound and rhymes) are right: "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimle in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe" (Fromkin & Rodman, p185). Why anyone would bother to write such a piece is a mystery to me, but perhaps it was to show us that even though the poem looks alright at first glance, it is not possible to make "good" poetry out of nonsense.

In "The Lady of Shalott", the name of the lady is repeated at the end of the stanzas, creating a kind of soothing and calming nursery rhyme like effect. The imagery used in the poem is vivid and shows us the world outside the lady's tower: "On either side the river lie / Long fields of barley and of rye / --- / To many-towered Camelot; / And up and down the people go" (Tenn...

... middle of paper ...

...portant, I believe that the most important in a poem must be its content - the message or feeling of what the poet wants to share - and not how. An example of the opposite can be seen in Carroll's "Jabberwocky", and that cannot be labelled as great poetry, can it?

Works Cited

Fromkin, Victoria & Rodman, Robert. An Introduction to Language, 6th edition. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace, 1998

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Raven". The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Fifth Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York, N.Y.: Norton & Company, 1999. 701-704

Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Philosophy of Composition", 1850. (online)

Lord Tennyson, Alfred. "The Lady of Shalott". The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, The Major Authors. New York, N.Y.: Norton & Company, 1996. 1883-1887

Open Document