The poem “A Subaltern’s Love Song” by John Betjeman is a very sweet poem that tells a story. Inside the poem is a mystery about love and who is in charge, the man or the woman. It’s the type of poem that makes a person smile when you read it. The author uses ‘ambiguity’ to make the mystery. The reader isn’t quite sure which meaning some of the words have. For instance I think the “subaltern” (which means “a person holding a subordinate position”) is the young man saying the poem. Although the young woman is the victor in the tennis game isn’t she also the victor in love?
And he uses ‘metaphor” when he talks about one thing like the tennis game he’s really talking about their being in love and the game of love. In the last verse he repeats “ominous” twice to describe the “dancing ahead.” The dancing is a metaphor for marriage.
In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour,” she starts by telling the reader that Mrs. Mallard is not in good health and that she is going be given some very bad news and the reader wonders will the news give her a heart attack and keeps reading to see what happens. They way the first paragraph is written gives us a picture in our imagination of a woman worried to tell her sister very bad news in the doorway. A well written first paragraph gets the reader drawn into the story out of curiosity or because something in particular that makes the reader interested.
Then there is a hint that something is different about Mrs. Mallard because she “wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” when she learned her husband had been killed in a train accident. She goes into her own room and the author slowly introduces us to a different “persona.” The Mrs. Mallard who is feeling joy at being free to live life as she chooses isn’t at all the person we expected to meet. Maybe this personality is a reflection of the persona of the author, Kate Chopin who is publishing her own work.
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California:
Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Chapt 2. https://content.ashford.edu/books.
Poetry Archive. (2005-2010). Listening to poetry. Retrieved from http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/listenPoetry.do