Pope, An Essay on Criticism.

     Out of all the readings this week, I highly enjoyed An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope. Before reading through the whole essay, I noticed that it was written as a poem. This discouraged me because I always found long poems to be hard to comprehend through schooling. After reading through the passage carefully, I was taking back by his theme of the beauty of writing freely and literature. Pope has a strong sense of believing that no one should judge others intelligence because one may not be able to please the reader. Within Popes ongoing theme of criticism, Pope argues that a critic can lead to bad judgment because of his or her own opinion. As being said, in my own opinion about what Pope is trying to conclude is that critics can harm not only the piece of written literature but as well the person who writes it. As mentioned, because of my past relationship with English/literature classes, poems and close readings of important essays and novels always challenged me intellectually and still do till this day. This essay by Alexander Pope honesty opened my eyes to believing differently about literature and myself as a college student.

            Throughout my college career, writing has been such an ongoing struggle for me. No matter how hard I try or improve, I find my self-falling in a downward slope. It has been extremely hard to go through multiple professors that have different opinions on writing and how it should be done. Even though I know there are skills I still need to improve on, I truly believe that everyone has their own writing style and even more so a purpose in his/her education. Pope argues that within nature, there is a purpose for everyone. I myself may struggle with writing, but over time I will improve within believing in my self and not worrying too much about others negative criticism. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and everyone has to overcome a weakness to improve in life, which is the beauty of humanity.



3 thoughts on “Pope, An Essay on Criticism.

  1. I would have to agree with you, when I first saw that Pope wrote his essay in poem for I may have had a slight freak out. But as I started reading it I found it was easier to read than say Shakespeare. I think that is because I thought it was easier to relate too. You said you think the main theme is that critics can make or break someone’s art, and today I think this is true. But I think as he was writing this he had more than literature in mind. There also seems to be this idea throughout his work that suggests these critics will be present in all aspects of our lives and how we react to these people impacts our lives significantly.
    As far as not being able to write I think it’s something that can be challenging but it helps when you’re writing about something you have a true passion for. At least that is what I have found.

    wc 194

  2. As both of you have mentioned I too did find this the easiest to understand because of how relatable it was even though it was in poem form. I think it is a horrible thing that someone’s opinion can make or break someone’s art, whether it be music, film, or a physical art piece like a painting or sculpture. However, we have a crowd now that enjoys things based upon the fact that others do not like them. I feel that this is a slight improvement on the past of one opinion making everyone liking it or not liking it. I liked his argument with education and it reminded me a lot of the Einstein quote about the fish. Everyone has their own strength and weaknesses, and that is what makes everyone different and good at their own things! Some people, like myself, are really terrible at math, but really good at other technical things. Writing is a very opinionated topic and style, so I too find it difficult when a professor wants me to write one way when my opinion and style is a different way.

  3. You have done a great job of relating Pope’s ideas on criticism to your life and school in particular. I have always felt in my fiction and non-fiction workshops that I have been given plenty of leeway to explore whatever forms and styles I wanted, but in classes with more academic kinds of essays, I have found myself constantly trying to adapt to the expectations of different professors and also different fields of study. Unfortunately for us, the professors are the only critics in those cases, and their opinions can determine our grades –their Tastes can determine our grades. Even in some workshops, an instructor or another student will on occasion point out something in one of my pieces that they want to see changed, but I feel adamantly that it should stay as it is. I might end up changing it, but first, I want to consider whether that person’s Tastes match up with those of my intended audience. I guess that is basically what I have been getting at so far: it is not every critic’s opinions or Tastes that matter; it is only those for whom an author is writing.

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