Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mouse's Petition - yet another interpretation

Although I think all of the aforementioned interpretations seem perfectly valid, I interpreted it the poem of the mouse in the trap as an allegory relating to the lower classes of England. Until pretty recently in British history, debtors prisons were quite common. And, like the characters in Dickens' Oliver Twist, many people were in desperate straits, unable even to acquire enough food to eat and having to steal to make a living or even to avoid starvation. The mouse, for his part, only tries to takes the crumbs that are left on the floor from a great feast...thus demonstrating the large economic gap and class divisions between the wealthy and the poor. So, from my perspective, the mouse represented one of these people stuck in the lower class and unable to get out, literally caught in a trap and unable to free himself from an inferior societal role.

I think one more connection that supports the relationship between the lower classes and the mouse is the fact that the mouse is found on the floor of a hospital ward. The hospitals, which should have helped, healed, and protected the poorer classes, were only one more representation of a callous, bureaucratic, class-conscious society that was tailored towards the rich and left the poor asking "Please, sir, may I have some more." And for the mouse, that little more that he asks is for a few breadcrumbs. What happens as a result? He is snapped up in a trap, "trembl[ing] at th' approaching morn/ Which brings impending fate."

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