Read the following poem by Edwin Muir from The Faber Book of Beasts (pp.119–20). Then write a short essay of no more than 600 words explaining what the poem is about and consider whether you think the poem is more traditional or dissenting.
The first part of this essay will analyse the meaning of the poem called The Horses, written be Edwin Muir. Initially it would be useful to understand what is meant by traditional and dissenting. Traditional: of, relating, or being tradition,(E. Dictionary, 2006). Dissenting: to have a disagreement or withhold assent, (E. Dictionary, 2006).
Muir, came from an isolated place and lived around two world wars, (b. May 15, 1887, Deerness, Orkney, Scot.—.d Jan. 3, 1959, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Eng), (Encyclopedia, Britannica, 2010). It is a tempting thought that living on a lonely island and through two world wars, heavily influenced him for the poem. Edwin Muir's poem 'The Horses' ...view middle of the document...
It also clearly emphasises the chaos and destruction that the war has brought upon man and that there was no time for the simplest of burials. Muir, in being rhetorical, is showing that the survivors' need for a simpler life a purer life away from the existence of a technology driven society that caused the seven days war. The poem shows a strong sense of irony with, 'Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.' (Assignment Book, 2008).
Muir, has used alliteration and this can be seen in the repeated f in, 'far past our fathers' land,' reinforces how much man has changed and returned to a past way of life and possibly a rhyme for forefathers when reduced to 'far...fathers,' (Assignment, Book, 2008). Assonance in ar is seen 3 times: f ar, p a st and f a ther, that ar sounds sets the scene for sadness.
One feels that this poem maybe a redevelopment of an older poem by Muir, as there is another poem by him called 'Horses' and in certain lines there are many similarities and these lines and others, seem to suggest this, 'We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited, Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent By an old command to find our whereabouts And that long-lost archaic companionship, ' (The Horses, Assignment Book, 2008), and ' Those lumbering horses in the steady plough, On the bare field - I wonder, why, just now, They seemed terrible, so wild and strange, Like magic power on the stony grange,' (Horses, Poem Hunter, 2010). In both examples he is shows passion for the horses.
The future created in the poem has a resemblance of the past, which is indicative of what traditional could mean, but also could be indicative of what dissenting means with forgetting about the age of technology and this line indicates this,'At one great gulp. We would not have it again.'(Assignment Book, 2008).
The conclusion is, Muir has written about traditional values. The poem has an irony, or paradox message in that man achieves the benefits of technology only then to be reduced to a way of life that is of the past, reinforcing the position of traditional.