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Power and Despair in Ozymandias

Power and Despair in Ozymandias

To despair is one of the strongest emotions that Freud’s id could possibly produce. It’s an uncontrollable feeling that leads even the worthiest and most powerful men to emptiness and hopelessness. In the 14-line poem, “Ozymandias” by PB Shelley, Shelley chooses the greatest setting for utter despair in using a desert. Power and despair are greatly correlated in this poem as well as many others.

Under the immediate assumption that Ozymandias is the sculptor of the barren statues, one must realize that even kings cannot contain their passions and emotions. Ozymandias erected a statue of his destress where none could see it and without habitation for miles. Leaving these statues behind, the sculptor is given a chance to reveal to others the underlying sadness of his soul. “[Passions read] Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them”. Though the sculptor has left the mortal world, his soul remains for all passers-by to see. He/She is attempting to force others into his/her realm of pain just by seeing his/her creation. This poem causes havoc upon the mind of the reader as they think of utter desolation.

The statue is described as a “colossal wreck boundless and bare” drawing a parallel for the reason in which it was built. The condition of the stones, delicately but descriptively worded by Shelley, only emphasizes the despair drawn into the stone by the sculptor’s hand. By using words such as “frown”, “sneer”, and “mocked”, the author provides us with a slight portrait of the sculptor. It gives us a picture of a powerful king with no incentive or reason to smile. The phrase ‘cold command” portrays him as a militaristic leader that has seen more death and destruction than a whole army and has come to a new realization as to the true ways of the human race. The author’s words “lifeless”, “decay”, and “wreck” apply not only to the statue the author is describing but also to the sculptor of the statue.

Formalistic Analysis of Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby

Formalistic Analysis of Désirée’s Baby

The short story “Désirée’s Baby” is told by a third person omniscient point of view. The narrator, whose character or relationship to the story never receives any discussion, is a seemingly all-knowing observer of the situation. Although the narrator does not take sides towards issues that arise during the course of the text, her general view does shape the overall characterization of the white Southern society. The text exhibits interesting clues such as word choice, tone and mood, reappearing symbols and references that enrich the story and intensify its underlining message.

The choice of French names and words reminds the reader of the stories’ setting and helps create an irony that is echoed throughout the text. Before the narrator explains the use of the French language and the settlers’ origin, it becomes evident that the characters in discussion are of French heritage. Names and words such as “Madame Valmondé” and “Coton Mais” reveal some of Louisiana’s history as they develop the setting of “Désirée’s Baby”. The French word “corbeille” also appears a number of times in the story and stands for the English word corbeil, which is a sculptured ornament in form of a basket that Armand buys for his lady before he can marry her. Such reverences reveal the traditional practices and expectation of early settlers in colonial Louisiana. Another interesting aspect of the French influence upon the short story is how certain people are named. “La Blanche”, a neighbor of the Aubignys’, is a mulatto whose quadroon children are looked down upon for their darker skin color. “La Blanche” ironically means “the White” and as Armand falsely blames his wife to be of Negro heritage …

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The short story “Désirée’s Baby” is physically divided into two episodes. The first, and longer one, discusses the setting and everything to the point where she leaves her husband. The second episode being the scene of the bonfire when Armand becomes enlightened about his heritage. The first episode is therefore the story of young Désirée and her struggle. While the following focuses in on her husband and how he will have to come to terms with his new reality. The end does not reveal if the young couple has a future or even allow a glimpse of Armand’s immediate reaction. In any case the he will have to overcome his racial hatred and come to terms with his ancestry. Recognizing the different parts, analyzing images, and making note of reoccurring references, word choice and change in tone may offer insight into the artistic nature of a literary work.

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