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Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

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by

Bree Moffitt

on 20 November 2012

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Transcript of Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks By: Nick Ferraro, Tyler Lindsey, & Bree Moffitt Background: The poem was published in 1958 in Pablo Neruda's "Estravagario". Pablo Neruda was in Paris when he began to work on the poem. Just before writing the poem Neruda had moved to Paris so he could focus on his books. This particular book was to be written about memories he had had whether they be political, social or literary. All those men were there inside, The 5 S's Structure: poem. The one stanza creates one large idea. Neruda is getting one point across, he is telling one story. Every line has punctuation at the end of it creating an organized and complete thought. All of the lines throughout the poem are around the same size, there is no random short line or one worded line. This makes the entire story a focal point instead of just one idea standing out. Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks is a one stanza Sound The poem was equally cacophonous and euphonious. Words such as "spit", "blackened", "burnt", and "stubs" show the cacophonous points in the poem while words such as "gleaming", "obscenities", "topaz", and "shining" enhance the more euphonious sound. The sound adds a sadness to a beautiful creature and makes the tone depressing and melancholy. Sense The word choice indicates that the author is upset with what is happening to the mermaid. "Obscenities" and "weep" show the hate and the following sorrow felt by the mermaid. The diction is denotative and concrete, with most of the words such as "shining", "swam", "tavern", etc., having no alternate meaning. The title implies that the poem is a fable, which means that a moral lesson should be derived from it. One can interpret the lesson as being about the animalistic nature of man and the innocence of women. Imagery is present throughout, "They blackened her with burnt corks and cigarette stubs,". Figurative language is used where Neruda writes, "Her eyes were the colour of distant love". The implied themes are that of the foul nature of men towards women and the innocence that a woman has. Speaker Symbols The poem utilizes metaphors, although it lacks one controlling metaphor. In line 14, Neruda writes, "her twin arms were made of white topaz". Here he portrays the arms of the mermaid to be made of a beautiful gemstone to convey the indecency of the men in ruining her beauty. The river in the poem may represent birth and the innocence derived from birth, shown where Neruda writes, "Newly come from the river, she knew nothing." Mermaids have a traditional connotation with beauty and the link between humans and animals. Discussion Questions 1. What is one overall theme of the poem? 2. What are some other possible symbols present in the poem? 3. What is symbolic about the mermaid's final swim? Where is she headed? 4. How does the tone you got from the poem match the one in our analysis? 5. How can meaning be derived from Neruda's depiction of the men in the tavern? What is his message? CREATIVE(: The poet and the voice are the same in this poem, Neruda is describing the scene in which the mermaid walks into the bar. The occasion for this seems to be Neruda’s realization of how women are treated during his time period. The men spit and throw trash at this woman who is obviously not welcome at the bar. The tone is one of hostility from the men and a powerful presence from the mermaid. The men are drunk, and throwing insults at the woman, while she weeps no tears and doesn’t even flinch. The realization in this poem is that women are treated unfairly by men, who are brutal and savage. THE END!
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