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Analysis Of Parable By William Soutar

He was a Scottish poet, born in 1898 at Perth. He had his university education at Edinburgh. For the last years of his life, he was invalided as he suffered from paralysis. He died in 1943.
The issue of fencing abodes or properties is not new in poetry, Robert Frost has a poem about fence he titled Mending Wall. This William Soutar poem "Parable" no except, it's about two neighbors believe in the marking of their boundaries with fence would prevent them from stepping on each other's toes and by so doing, everlasting peace would reign. Priority was so much placed on their fences to extent the bricks of their buildings were taken down to improve the solidness of their fences but the maintenance of the fence brought them quarrel or fight that made their fences buried them alive.
Parable is a three-stanza poem with end rhyme pattern of AABBCCDD; the rhythm is strictly planned by the poet to maintain the minimum of four feet per line of the poem. The satirical ingredient used by the poet made the poem a very lively one. The poem used military words like barricaded, battlements, ramparts to show that it was not love that propelled the neighbors to build the fence but fear, jealousy, anger and hatred which culminated into war that destroyed them both.
The theme of self-destruction is one among the themes of the poem. Both neighbors unknowingly built their minefields (their fence) in quest for peace and security "Two neighbors, who were rather dense/ Considered that their mutual fence/ Were more symbolic of their peace/ (Which they maintained should never cease)" in line 1-4. Their intended peace led to no-peace and their destruction "They curse, they strike, they break the wall/ Which buries them beneath its fall" in line 29-30.
Another theme is the fear of neighbor's encroachment. Each neighbors as described by the poem speaker were exercising fear, none trusted his neighbors with his belongings and in disguise of peace they thought could secure their properties.
Futility is another theme of the poem. In the sense that the characters in question held high value towards what they shouldn't; their belongings to the level that they sacrificed their dwelling to preserve their
futile boundary.

Limitations created with fences. Soutar, through this poem showed that the benefit of having a home fenced is way lesser than the disadvantages. Fences prevent socialism, trustworthy cooperation, neighbourliness. Fence can be a hindrance in time of necessitated rescue.
Other poetic devices that flavored the poem are: metaphor in line 6 "substantial warden", in line 21 "they uprear". Simile in line 16 "like a gathering blot". Oxymoron in line 16 "battlements of peace". Alliteration in line 16 "built the battlements" in line 22 "full of fear" in line 24 "dwelling houses down". Apostrophe in line 14 "Higher! Higher!". Repetition of the following words "fence" "higher" "day" "neighbor".
COMMON QUESTIONS:-
1) explain the poet's use of sarcasm in the poem "Parable"
2) Of what relevance is the poem "Parable" to our modern day society?
3) Compare and contrast Mending Wall by Robert Frost with Parable by William Soutar

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)










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