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Bring out the element of satire in the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale."

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paradise-cosmo95 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 30, 2011 at 3:30 AM via web

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Bring out the element of satire in the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale."

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 30, 2011 at 6:08 AM (Answer #1)

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In the story "The Frog and the Nightingale," by Vikram Seth, the main character is a frog who croaks all night, and the creatures nearby suffer his "noise." No amount of discouragement can stop him. One day a beautiful nightingale comes and sings, and everyone is delighted. Not used to the applause, she is thrilled, and returns again. The frog decides— even though her voice is loved—to offer her critical advice. The frog doesn't know what he is talking about, but the less experienced nightingale takes his words to heart and tries to change. The crowds still come, and by now, the frog is charging admission.

The frog drives the bird to work harder, though the joy of singing is starting to fade; the crowd misses her passion. One more time she pushes harder than ever, but it is too much and she dies.

The frog is not at all sympathetic. He says she should have listened to her own voice rather than being like someone else—except this has been his advice to her all along.

In searching for satire, this addresses those who hold a certain place in society, who are not overly talented, but are tolerated (frog). When someone new arrives on the scene (the bird), the first guy tries to take the attention away from her gift and imposes his actions/manners onto her.

The frog represents a person who tells others that he knows the best way to behave. He rides the wave of success in the shadow of this new person, but he is a taker. He offers no words of encouragement; he perpetually demands that the other work harder and harder. Naive, the other person follows directions, but loses joy in the life he/she used to have—now trying to live up to someone else's expectations. Her sacrifices mean nothing: the "instructor" only demands more, and when she "dies" or fails, he sweeps her aside, noting her silliness, and expressing the theme of the poem...

Well, poor bird—she should have known

That your song must be your own.

Satire is:

...a work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or ridicule.

This poem, then, is warning to people against giving over their talents, self-confidence and "moral courage" into the charge of those who have little knowledge himself, and shares no worthwhile advice. In essence the poem encourages people to "listen to the beat of their own drum," while avoiding those who are full of themselves and/or who feel threatened by a sense of competition. The frog here represents the voices in the world that rob those who are more innocent or weaker—of their voice. They are not at all interested in the success of other people, and when the other fails, the first guy happily continues to do his own "thing," though his competition is gone now.

Written in the 1920s, and reintroduced  during the 1960s, "Desiderata," by Max Ehrmann, echoes the story's theme:

If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself...

...Be yourself…And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul.

The story of the frog criticizes people with self-importance, and it presses the reader to hold on to self-confidence, "follow your bliss," and find joy in who you are and what you do.

Additional Source:

http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm

 

 

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xdheex | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM (Answer #2)

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In the story "The Frog and the Nightingale," by Vikram Seth, the main character is a frog who croaks all night, and the creatures nearby suffer his "noise." No amount of discouragement can stop him. One day a beautiful nightingale comes and sings, and everyone is delighted. Not used to the applause, she is thrilled, and returns again. The frog decides— even though her voice is loved—to offer her critical advice. The frog doesn't know what he is talking about, but the less experienced nightingale takes his words to heart and tries to change. The crowds still come, and by now, the frog is charging admission.

The frog drives the bird to work harder, though the joy of singing is starting to fade; the crowd misses her passion. One more time she pushes harder than ever, but it is too much and she dies.

The frog is not at all sympathetic. He says she should have listened to her own voice rather than being like someone else—except this has been his advice to her all along.

In searching for satire, this addresses those who hold a certain place in society, who are not overly talented, but are tolerated (frog). When someone new arrives on the scene (the bird), the first guy tries to take the attention away from her gift and imposes his actions/manners onto her.

The frog represents a person who tells others that he knows the best way to behave. He rides the wave of success in the shadow of this new person, but he is a taker. He offers no words of encouragement; he perpetually demands that the other work harder and harder. Naive, the other person follows directions, but loses joy in the life he/she used to have—now trying to live up to someone else's expectations. Her sacrifices mean nothing: the "instructor" only demands more, and when she "dies" or fails, he sweeps her aside, noting her silliness, and expressing the theme of the poem...

Well, poor bird—she should have known

That your song must be your own.

Satire is:

...a work that targets human vices and follies or social institutions and conventions for reform or ridicule.

This poem, then, is warning to people against giving over their talents, self-confidence and "moral courage" into the charge of those who have little knowledge himself, and shares no worthwhile advice. In essence the poem encourages people to "listen to the beat of their own drum," while avoiding those who are full of themselves and/or who feel threatened by a sense of competition. The frog here represents the voices in the world that rob those who are more innocent or weaker—of their voice. They are not at all interested in the success of other people, and when the other fails, the first guy happily continues to do his own "thing," though his competition is gone now.

Written in the 1920s, and reintroduced during the 1960s, "Desiderata," by Max Ehrmann, echoes the story's theme:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself...

...Be yourself…And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

The story of the frog criticizes people with self-importance, and it presses the reader to hold on to self-confidence, "follow your bliss," and find joy in who you are and what you do.

Additional Source:

http://www.fleurdelis.com/desiderata.htm

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