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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

THE VICTOR DOG, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"The Victor Dog" is a poem by American poet James Ingram Merrill. It was first published in 1973 and reflects on the themes of memory, nostalgia, and the power of advertising.

Explanation:

The poem describes the speaker's reflections on a commercial jingle for the Victor Talking Machine Company, which features the image of a dog listening intently to a gramophone. The poem is marked by a sense of nostalgia and longing, as the speaker reflects on the power of advertising to shape our memories and experiences.

The speaker describes the jingle and the image of the dog, and the sense of comfort and familiarity that they bring to him. He reflects on the ways in which advertising can be used to capture the essence of human experience, and the power that it has to shape our understanding of the world around us.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: "The Victor Dog" is a poem written in free verse, with no strict rhyme or meter.
  • Imagery: The poem is filled with vivid and evocative imagery, such as the image of the "dog who has forgotten nothing" and the "trumpeting brasses" of the gramophone.
  • Metaphor: The poem uses the metaphor of the Victor Talking Machine Company to reflect on the themes of memory, nostalgia, and the power of advertising, underscoring the sense of comfort and familiarity that characterizes the speaker's reflections on the jingle and the image of the dog.
  • Theme: The poem explores the themes of memory, nostalgia, and the power of advertising, underscoring the sense of comfort and familiarity that advertising can bring to our lives.

Conclusion:

"The Victor Dog" is a powerful and emotionally charged poem that reflects on the complexities of memory, nostalgia, and the power of advertising. Through its use of vivid imagery, metaphor, and theme, the poem captures the sense of comfort and familiarity that advertising can bring to our lives, as well as the ways in which it can shape our understanding of the world around us. The poem stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of free verse and the themes of memory, nostalgia, and the power of advertising.

Poem Snippet:

"So hearken to the jingle-jangle

Of society's chains, keep step,

And learn, you puppy with a yen for fame,

The simple lesson of your master's voice."


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