Thursday, January 28, 2010

Swift Does Not Approve.

In two of the three poems written by Swift, "The Lady's Dressing Room" and "A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed," he makes no attempt to hide his disdain for the practices of women at his time.

Despite the seemingly innocent or soft titles of these poems, they are riddled with satirical criticisms and venomous insults. In the first poem, "The Lady's Dressing Room," every single item that is even remotely related to the dressing of a woman is attached to extremely negative connotations. He even references one container as being kin to Pandora's Box, essentially saying it is full of all possible demons.

In the second poem, "A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed," the description of "Beautiful" can be interpreted in two different ways. The first, more obvious way, is that Swift is using it as a condescending term. By calling her beautiful then discussing in disgust every attribute of Corinna, the subject of the poem, he is pointing out the folly in using the word 'beautiful' to describe one who has all of these adornments that cover one's true self.

It can also be interpreted that Swift actually means for Corinna to be beautiful. He describes her in an unfortunate setting with sub-par, even disgusting dressings, but he does not actually call Corinna herself ugly. In fact, there are times when he compliments her features by way of saying the fashion destroys them, such as in lines 35-36 when he says, "And smooth the Furrows in her Front / With greasy Paper stuck upon't" and also when he describes her as having a "Soft touch."

In either case, the message mimics that of the first poem: "The crap that women put on themselves that they think makes them pretty is ridiculous and does more harm than good."

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