Structuralist Analysis of Three Poems: “Spleen”; “The Map” “Sestina” “Spleen” Source: (Provided by Buck Lee) http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/flowersofevil/s ection1.rhtml http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/flowersofevil/s ection2.rhtml (need to register a free membership) “Unlike traditional poetry that relied on the serene beauty of the natural world to convey emotions, Baudelaire felt that modern poetry must evoke the artificial and paradoxical aspects of life. . . . ” “Spleen” (2) : meaning of Spleen The result is a clear opposition between two worlds, "spleen“ and the "ideal." Spleen signifies everything that is wrong with the world: death, despair, solitude, murder, and disease. (The spleen, an organ that removes disease-causing agents from the bloodstream, was traditionally associated with malaise; "spleen" is a synonym for "ill-temper.") In contrast, the ideal represents a transcendence over the harsh reality of spleen, where love is possible and the senses are united in ecstasy. “Spleen” (3): Form By beginning the first three stanzas of "Spleen" (IV) all with the word "When," Baudelaire formally mirrors his theme of monotonous boredom and the speaker's surrender to the inexorable regularity and longevity of his spleen. “The Map” Binary opposites? Poetic form? Poetic language? Meaning? “The Map”: Binary opposites– (land and water) vs. we; contain and cross Lies Sea-weeded ledges, The land Leans down fine tan sandy shelf Tugging at --water Eskimos Oil the land; Names crossing We Stroke -- to blossom; boundaries; land to provide a clean cage takes water The Conform to land Hare runs; mapped Profiles investigate; water Delicate colors. “The Map” Poetic form? --1st and 3rd stanzas organized; Poetic language? A lot of personification. Map- makers seem less important. Meaning? While the speaker changes her perspectives from cosmic to subjective/imaginative, and then to objective/descriptive, the poem shows in the ever- changefulness of geography, two types of interactions: that in nature, and that between nature and human beings. After all, nature cannot be contained or fixed. “Sestina” : What is Sestina? “The sestina is an old fixed form of poetry, dating as far back as the twelfth century. It onsists of six six-line stanzas and a three-line concluding stanza. The ending words of the first stanza are repeated throughout each subsequent stanza in a set pattern. The same six words appear in the concluding three-line stanza, two in each line. ” (source http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Villa/8287/sestina.htm ) house, grandmother, child, Stove, almanac (?), tears. Meaning? Sestina: variation of the 3 pairs 1. Grandmother (sender) the child (Receiver), hide the tears from her. 2. Grandmother (Subject) Tears equinoctial tears + rain = foretold by the almanac (Object), hidden from the child (Object); iron kettle sing 3. Child (passive; Subject) the teakettle + tears + the house (Object); grandmother (Subject) almanac (Object). 4. Almanac (Opponent) grandmother and child (Object); grandmother (Subject) her teacup full of dark brown tears + stove; 5. Marvel Stove and the almanac (S) limitation; the child (S) creation (a man with buttons like tears) 6. Grandmother stove; little moons (subject) on the almanac; the child’s flower bed. 7. almana (S) compose oneself; grandmother sings (S) stove; the child draws (S) inscrutable house “Sestina” Pattern? Meaning?