‘By using the first or second person – a poet creates a sense of
direct dialogue with the reader.’ What is your response to this view?
By the use of the first or second person a poet can establish a
connection between the character and the reader because the poet can
address the reader directly. The poems I have chosen to study are
‘Abbey Tomb’ by Patricia Beer, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’
by T.S. Elliot and ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats.
Beer’s use of the first person in ‘Abbey Tomb’ creates the sense that
the monk is confiding in the reader. In addition the link between
reader and the Beer’s character is enhanced because the monk is
talking through time, which makes the reader feel involved because the
monk is intrusting the reader with his grievance that has lasted
beyond the grave.
‘I told them not to ring the bells…their tombs look just as right as
mine,’ it could be seen here that the monk is trying to get the final
word to the reader as time has worn away the truth and there is no one
alive who knows he was right. This also implies his frustration that
the other monks did not listen to him because his complain is made
directly to the reader.
With the use of the first person Beer is able to create what resembles
a first hand account of the incident, which is being retold to the
reader. ‘We stood still…staring at the door,’ the monks were waiting
for the Vikings. ‘We heard them passing by…only I could catch the
sound of prowling men…everybody else agreed to ring the bells,’ the
monks then think the Vikings had left and decided to ring the bells;
again we see that the monk is trying to prove he was right by
... middle of paper ...
...logue with the
reader, even though the poem is written in the second person because
is addressed to Autumn, as proclaimed in the title of the poem. Keats
makes no reference to the audience throughout the poem, but
personifies Autumn ‘sitting careless,’ ‘thy hair soft-lifted…’ and ‘by
a cider-press, with patient look, thou watchest.’ Therefore this
demonstrates that a poem can be written in the second person and
contain no sense of a direct dialogue with the reader.
I believe that the statement is too specific; some poems in the first
or second person, like ‘Abbey Tomb,’ are purely expressed to the
reader because the use of ‘I’ can create the sense of a conversation.
On the other hand, in ‘the love song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ and more
directly in ‘To Autumn,’ another character is addressed beside the
reader which weakens the sense of a direct dialogue.
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