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"To A Mouse" by Robert Burns
Transcript of "To A Mouse" by Robert Burns
Evoked by development with urbanization, the keeping of pets, scientific studies of animals, philosophic reasonings about them, and a general idealization of "nature"
Individualizing animals led to sympathy for them
Considered a Pre-Romantic poet
Sensitive to nature, emotional, spontaneous, passion for freedom and individualism, and a love for antiquity
Lacked education to be a "true poet"
Influenced by earlier poets such as Robert Fergusson and Allan Ramsay
Used a wide variety of stanza forms and styles
Varied dialect: Scottish, English, and a mix of the two Style and Classification Compared to Chaucer due to his insight into human nature
Burns wrote several poems for the women he loved
Wrote with sincerity
Had few convictions about religion, human freedom, and morality
Captured aspects of farm life, regional experiances, traditional culture, class culture and distinction, and religious practices and beliefs. January 25, 1759-July 21,1796
Son to William Burns and Agnes Brown Burns
Born in a thatched cottage in Alloway, Aryshire
Educated by his farmer father
"That's surely no a good man, for he has aye a book in his hand!"
Member of the Tarbolton Bachelor's Club and Crochallan Fencibles
A midwife predicted that he would attract many "lassies"
Fathered many illegitimate children
Censured by the Church
Was a Freemason
1786: Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect Used slant, internal, and external rhyme scheme
Burns created a nice flow in the poem by using his natural Scottish dialect
Lyrical format is a direct expression of personal emotion
Burns directly addresses the mouse, thus personifying it.
The dialect supports the illusion of a random conversation rather than that of a well-thought out poem Universal sympathy (pity for all existence)
The narrator can see the similarity between his own life and that of the mouse's
Similarity not in kind but in fate
Challenged readers to see the beauty of something so insignificant like the mouse or a lower class citizen
Burns believed that man is a vulnerable creature
Men, like mice can fall into traps
Humans are motivated by memory and foresight, while animals live only in the present John Steinbeck used the most famous line in Burn's poem for the title of his novel, "Of Mice and Men".
Burn's poem "Auld Lang Syne" is used to celebrate the New Years, but is also used for funerals, graduations, and as a ending to special occasions.
January 25th is Robert Burn's day. It is a day dedicated to the poet's great and everlasting works.
Burns was a symbol of everyone's potential and of Scotland's future as an independent country "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley" The End Scotland in Transistion
Change from agriculture to industrialization
England took control of Scotland, stripping it of its cultural identity
"Think in English, feel in Scots."
Burns embraced his cultural nationalism
He celebrated Scotland in his poems and songs, thus gaining him immense popularity amongst his fellow Scotsmen. "To a Mouse" is a poem about a ploughman who stumbles upon a mouse in the field that he is plowing. He discovers that the mouse had stolen "a daimen icker in a thave", but decides that he cannot blame the mouse for doing what he needs to do in order to survive the, "bleak December win's." The ploughman empathizes with the mouse, but feels that man's blight is far worse than that of any animal's. What's the gist?