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Swift – some additional thoughts

On the ride home tonight, I had a few additional thoughts on this piece, especially after our in class discussion on women as comestibles. I think that the passage on the Mutton Cutlets was actually far more revealing,  and possible sexual, than I realized at first read.  First, I found it interesting that her preparation is compared to a preparation of a piece of meat. Also, Swift talks about how “The Fat upon a Cinder drops”  fat is a bodily excrement and twice in the passage, he speaks of  Fire and Flame,  which are often used to symbolize passion.  So in a sense, this bodily excrement transitions the passion and turns it into “stinking Smoak” that ruins the entire “dish”.

 

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One thought on “Swift – some additional thoughts

  1. I have often found the “butcher-esque” analysis of Celia to be troublesome. I’m wondering how you conceive of the simultaneous impulse of the poem to analyze Celia as “parts” rather than a whole, while Strephon uses Celia as a part of femininity that represent ALL women?
    I also think you are spot on to recognize the sexual word play in this poem. Celia almost becomes the commodity herself — as though Strephon is aiming to spy on her to assess the purchase he might be considering (ie. making her his wife).

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