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Representations Of Cats In Poetry Essay

624 words - 3 pages

The two poems differ in a number of ways, the first notable difference being in structure. Apartment Cats by Thom Gunn takes a stanzaic form, consisting of three stanzas each composed of six lines. Gunn has used free verse, with irregular rhythmic cadence, both in the actual verses and as a linking mechanism between each verse For example it appears that Gunn has tried to rhyme the last word in each stanza with the last word in the first line of the next stanza, perhaps as a method of maintaining a natural flow throughout the poem.
This is very different to the form used by Thomas Flatman in An Appeal to Cats in the Business of Love. Flatman’s poem is not split into stanzas and he has used rhyming couplets throughout most of the poem to give an AABBCCDDEEFGGF rhyme scheme. The poem takes a mainly iambic beat, using an unstressed and ...view middle of the document...

In terms of representation of the cats in each of the poems, I believe that Flatman has written anthropomorphically, ascribing the attributes of man in the art of love, passion and seduction to that of a cat. I see it as almost a comparison between the sexual actions of cats and those of a man, where the cat is finally portrayed of the superior, experienced being when it comes to such behaviour:
Only cats, when they fall
From a house or a wall,
Keep their feet, mount their tails, and away!
The ending could be read as a mockery of men and is what I was referring to in one of the earlier paragraphs where I said that the poems form changes to almost that of a limerick, indecent with humorous intent. Throughout the poem sexual references and comparisons are made, with the cats spitting love at each other and feeling the ‘pangs of a passionate lover’. References are made to ‘scratches’ and ‘tattered fur’ which I read as a result of a sexual encounter.
This is very different to how I interpreted Apartment Cats. In this poem I believe that Gunn is writing about real cats and not necessarily using them as a metaphor for something sexual, but rather for a lack of freedom, something that can be attributed to both the cats and humans. I can see how sexual suggestions could be deduced, however, I do not believe that this is the premise of the poem. I see this more as an observation of cats, confined to a small, indoor space. Gunn makes reference to the ‘outside smell’, something these cats are unlikely to experience living in an apartment, and so I believe that the underlining theme of this poem is confinement and isolation, offering a study of behaviour and emotions when a living being is subject to such circumstances. The poem ends with ‘She abruptly rises, knowing well how to stalk off in wise indifference’ demonstrating a means of tolerance of the situation.

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