Paper #2 Final Draft 10_07_10 Friday

Paper #2 Final Draft 10_07_10 Friday - Alice (Ya Yun) Huang...

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Alice (Ya Yun) Huang October 8th, 2010 English 45B Paper #2 The War Against Vanity Commentary for Canto I, Lines 121-140 Alexander Pope’s legendary mock-heroic poem “The Rape of the Lock” was notoriously based on an actual event in which Lord Petre, a British nobleman, cut a lock of lustrous hair off the head of Arrabella Fermer, a tantalizingly beautiful woman he claimed to be in love with. This theft incited a terrible war between the Fermer and Petre families after Arrabella rebuked Petre’s advances, and cried out that her beauty had been plundered. A mutual friend of both families, John Caryll, commissioned his poet friend Alexander Pope to write a poem chronicling the madness of this conflict. Pope accepted, and penned one of the most famous satirical poems in all literature. Through his art, it is arguable that Pope hoped to elicit a response from the real life subjects of his poem. In “The Rape of the Lock,” Pope highlights the flaws in each character and twists those flaws to form grotesque characterizations of London’s high society. Through this act, it seems that Pope hoped his subjects would realize their trivialities and dismiss the vanities in their lives. One of the characters to receive such literary manipulation is Belinda, the vain and trifling woman Pope casts as his unlikely heroine. In Canto I, lines 121-140, Alexander Pope strives to create the initial conflict that will carry through the rest of the poem. To do so, Pope has to create a character as tantalizingly attractive as the real life Arrabella Fermer. Like Arrabella, Belinda is noted for
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her luxurious, lustrous locks, and she cares for her hair well. In earlier lines of the poem, Belinda is depicted as a spoiled, wealthy housewife who has a silly lapdog, a collection of bells, and who sleeps long past noon. When she does awaken, Belinda cannot be asked to engage in any other activities but to beautify herself in the mirror, as seen in the selected passage. Also notable in the opening is the fact that Pope introduces the nymphs as the machinery used to propel action on earth. In the scene selected for analysis, Belinda sits at her toilette while the nymphs adore her unsheathed beauty as she sits with her “head
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Paper #2 Final Draft 10_07_10 Friday - Alice (Ya Yun) Huang...

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