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Criticism Of "The Sick Rose"

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Poetry & Poets

Criticism Of
Criticism Of
Criticism Of
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By analyzing more information from different authors, I was able to draw
a greater amount contrast from the authors. I had a better feel for what they
were trying to convey when they wrote their critical essays in their books.
Whatever the case, it was easier to judge "The Sick Rose" by having more sources
to reflect upon.

Michael Riffaterre centers his analysis of "The Sick Rose" in "The Self-
sufficient Text" by "using internal evidence only [to analyze the poem] and to
determine to what extent the literary text is self-sufficient. It seems to
[Riffaterre] that a proper reading entails no more than a knowledge of the
language" (39). Riffaterre identifies psychological, philosophical, and genetic
interpretations (connected to "mythological tradition") as "aiming outwards."
These approaches find the meaning of the text in the relationship of its images
to other texts" (40). Riffaterre argues for a more internal reading of the poems.
Riffaterre emphasizes the importance of the relationships between words as
opposed to their "corresponding realities" (40). For example, he states that the
"flower or the fruit is a variant of the worm's dwelling constructed through
destruction. Thus, as a word, worm is meaningful only in the context of flower,
and flower only in the context of worm" (41). After Riffaterre's reading and in
terpretation of the poem, he concludes that "The Sick Rose" is composed of
"polarized polarities" (44) which convey the central object of the poem, the
actual phrase, "the sick rose" (44). He asserts that "because the text provides
all the elements necessary to our identifying these verbal artifacts, we do not
have to resort to traditions or symbols found outside the text" (44). Thus, "The
Sick Rose" is a self-sufficient text.

Hazard Adams takes a different approach to reading "The Sick Rose" than
most critics by cautioning the reader that often one "overlook[s] the fact that
a literary image primarily imitates its previous usages and secondarily what it
denotes in the outer world or in the realm of ideas" (13). Adams begins his
analysis with examining the rose, and by reminding the reader that in a
"literary world where the rose is seen archetypally, all things have human form"
(14). Thus he allows for the rose to be able to become part of the speaker. He
carries his idea one step further by suggesting that the speaker always
"address[es] some aspect of himself" when speaking to an object. Adams also
claims this same identification with the worm as with the rose. He further ...

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