Commentary Trials from Exam 1, May well 2001
Stephen Edgar's " The Secret Existence of Books” is about the size of reading plus the power of books to affect the reader. The poem personifies books, imagining how they silently plot to draw in all their readers, and then moves to an analysis of how the readers are changed by their studying. Edgar constructions his composition to illustrate the nature of this relationship between literature as well as its readers. " The Secret Your life of Books” is broken into five stanzas, each 6 lines long. A lyric poem, it is just a brief commentary revealing the speaker's emotions on its topic. Within just such a quick length, Edgar has developed a unique structure to each stanza. With the six lines in a stanza, the first is long (10-12 syllables), the second is brief (3-5 syllables), the third and fourth are long, the fifth is usually short, and the sixth is long. The second and sixth lines of each stanza vocally mimic eachother, or come close to rhyming, as do the next and fifth. This framework is regular throughout the complete length of the composition. The initial stanza presents the idea of books' after-hours scheming, and identifies how they affect the outside world: " they do their work through others/... by the rotating of cardiovascular. ” The stanza is usually consistent in voice and character. Every sentence has " they” referring to books as its subject matter: " They have... They know… they do all their work... They have turned the earth. ” Nevertheless , the stanza also engages a contradiction to demonstrate its topic. On the one hand, the dominant image of books inside the stanza is that produced by the simile in lines 3 and 4: " Like invalids long reconciled /To stillness. ” Books are incapable of movement and seemingly sedentary: " they cannot move. ” On the other hand, the stanza details their effects using language which suggests movement: " They may have turned the world/ By the twisting of hearts. ” This contrast between images of stasis and kinesis emphasizes the paradox of the poem's motif:...