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发布时间:2013-09-20 09:40:49  




The Imagery Analysis of In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough.

Imagery is the consolidation of imagination and impression of beauty left for readers; It is the image demonstrated by author’s thoughts and emotion through verbal media. Therefore, we can define imagery as a kind of visual reflection.

In the poetry of In a Station of the Metro, one of the most impressive characteristics of artistic expression is image superposition characterized by intuitiveness which links metaphor and images together to produce a variety of special and unique artistic effect. In the poetry of In a Station of the Metro, the image of “apparition of faces” in the first line echoes to “petals on a bough” in the second line. Such kind of image superposition contains profound thoughts and leaves us an unmeasured mental space to imagine the information and emotion hidden in this poetry.

These two sets of images in front of us have describes such a picture like: After a heavy rain, the sky was gloomy and grey, the air was humid

and filled with the smell of material decadence. A dark and wet subway station was standing in a corner of the city. People in this station were crowd and silent, moving mechanically without any communications with others. Some of them seemed to be alert, some seemed to cunning and some seemed to be indifferent with everything, without any face expression. Suddenly, there appeared innocent faces of children as good as petals, they were hand in hand with each other and sing along with their songs…The poet was pleasantly surprised and refreshed by these faces.

And in this poetry, there are two lines with all together fourteen words and except for the words like: in, these, of, a, the, on, there are mainly five nouns and two adjectives. It produces four images with two images in the first line and another two in the second line.

In the first line, there are the two images: “face” and “crowd”. “Face” is the carrier of “apparition”, and it is the bright spot in the crowded subway station. The “face” under the foil of “apparition” looks like the lotus in the mud. And the second image is the “crowd” which presents the scene of the poetry----subway station. In this crowded station where people comes and goes in a hurry, the only one thing caught poet’s eyes was the faces of the beauty who appeared unimaginably and disappeared hastily. That’s why the author called them “apparition”, since they are so beautiful that the poet cannot believe and disappear so quickly

that the port cannot grasp in time.

In the second line, there are another two images, “petals” and “bough”. Ezra Pound resembled “petals” to the “faces” of the young and children that appeared in the dark and wet subway station. And like the relations between “petals” and “faces”, “bough” also echoes to the image of “crowd” which serves as a foil to “petals”. And there are two adjectives used to mollify “bough”, they are “black” and “wet”. Because of the close relations between “bough” and “crowd”, the two adjectives “black” and “wet” not only belongs to the image of “bough”, but also mollify the image of “crowd” while “wet” demonstrates the face of sweats or glittering eyes of the beauty; and “black” demonstrates the darkness in the station and the gloomy of people.

Ezra Pound is one of the founders of imagism and puts forward three principles of imagist poetry. And In a Station of the Metro is one of his masterpieces in imagist poems which clearly and skillfully presents the first principle of describing and presenting things directly and concisely.

Obviously, it is the traffic hub of a city that can best demonstrate the modern civil culture in it. Thus, the image of city would better be presented by the subway station. Since, over there, you can witness the ups and downs of people and imagine the prosperity and poverty of the city; And under the severe destruction of industrial civilization, only plants growing in natural environment can better demonstrate the passed

good industrial civilization. Thus, the “petals” on the “bough” must be the best image of the good things produced by industrial society. It is these two totally different sets of images that provide us with direct access to understand the feelings of Ezra Pound towards western industrial country.

We can understand it from two different ways. On the one hand, “petals” not grow on green branched but on the wet black “bough”. It forms an obvious contrast between the beauty of “petals” and the black of “bough”, which makes the “petals” looks more beautiful and the black “bough” much more ugly and disgusting. Form this point, we can imagine that poet hates the luxury, materialistic inflation, and indifference which deeply rooted at city life, and eagers to pursue the good things which are full of hope and optimism. On the other hand, on the black wet “bough”, there appeared beautiful “petals”, and in humid and gloomy environment, there appeared glittering “faces” of beauty. The “apparition of faces” and “petals on the bough” supports each other and adds to each other’s connotation of image. Form this point, and think together with our usual lives, it would not be difficult for us to find the philosophy contained in it: The darkness in society is coincided with the brightness; and the ugliness is also coincided with beauty to exist in the world; and the dilemma must coincided with hopes and chances. Thus, do not loose your heart and never give up once you are trapped in troubles

and feel depressed; and do keep your awareness of unexpected sufferings when your are living in a harmonious life.

What’s more, we can find that the images in the poetry of In a Station of the Metro are “still and silent”. Like “faces” and “crowd”, “petals” and “bough”. There are no verbal words in this poetry while every noun represents a piece of picture and appears one by one to make up a visual feast for readers. And it would not be difficult for us to find that the descriptions of the images in this poetry are both subjective and objective. Like “faces” and “petals”, “crowds” and “bough”, the former is subjective and the latter is objective. Ezra Pound uses both objective statements and subjective imaginations to deliver his own opinions and emotions. Lastly, we need to know that the images we’ve found in this poetry are such a kind of mental images. Both “petals” and “bough” are mental images in poet’s heart. They are the imaginations of the “faces” appeared in the subway station which are not real. Such kind of mental images are produced in moments when poet finally obtain spirits and put them into the internal mind after careful observation and imaginative contemplation.

Draw a conclusion, the poem of In a Station of the Metro is not only a great masterpiece among Ezra Pound’s imagistic poems, but also stands for a landmark in the creation of imagistic poems in history of the world.

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