PosterĄG Sukie Lu at 13:35:53 3/17/98 from c445-34.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
|Ode (on the death of a favorite cat, drowned in a tub of goldfishes)
There are seven stanzas altogether, and each stanza has six lines and they are rhyme, and it sounds like a song, so it is an ode. This poem is telling a cat which was drowned because of catching a goldfish. It was a female cat and the speaker personalized it. We can see he used the personal pronoun 'she' or 'her' to describe it. Maybe he wanted used this story to reflect the real life of women.
According to the first stanza, we know that the cat was called Selima and she was living in a comfortable and beautiful house. May be she was fed by a rich family. Then the next stanza is describing her appearance. She was beautiful and lovely cat, her tail was sensitive and her paws were so sharp. At the end of this stanza, the speaker said 'She saw, and purred applause. Maybe the cat saw something that attractive her so much, so she purred. That was her first action.
The third stanza to the last stanza is telling the story about Selima and what's happening to her. It said Selima was watching into the water for a certain time. Then she found that there were two goldfishes in the water. The goldfishes were so beautiful, their scale were shining under the water, so Selima interested in them and wanted to catch them. Although the speaker didn't say they were goldfishes, by the description we knew that. He said, 'scaly armor' and 'golden gleam' and 'the genii of the stream'. They are the characteristic of goldfish. The cat saw the goldfishes and she wanted to catch them. So in the forth stanza is describing how did she try to catch the fish. Although her speech was so fast like a 'whisker', she couldn't catch them. So the speaker said, ' she stretched in vain to reach the prize.' I think 'prize' it means the goldfishes. Then the speaker said Selima was a presumptuous maid, because she didn't consider anything dangerous, but caught the fishes continuously in order to satisfy her lust. Actually, she was in a very dangerous situation but she didn't know that was why the speaker said , '(Malignant fate sat by and smiled)' The goldfishes was full of her mind, she didn't care about of everything but catch them. So finally she was glided into the water.
In the sixth stanza, the cat was struggling in the water and mewing, but there's nobody pay attention to her. Her masters (Tom and Susan) didn't notice her, even the dolphin and Nereid didn't help her. She could only mewed to the watery god. That means she had to wait for death. The last stanza, it said this story is teaching us, we must consider everything at different angles. The speaker said, 'one false step is never retrieved, And be with caution bold.' That is because sometimes when you did something wrong at the beginning, then you wouldn't have any chance to correct it and also it would be too late to regret. For example, when we played chess, only one time we put the chess to the wrong position. Then the whole game will lose. Such as Selima, although it is nature that cat was averse to fish, she not only never think of her safety, but also was tempted by the goldfish. That's why she caused herself to die. I think that is an example that the speaker let us to have self criticisms. Maybe some of us would do the same thing as the cat in our real life and we didn't notice it.
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