AP English Literature
May 27th 2011
William Carlos Williams
“No ideas but in things. (Williams 1).” This is a quote from William Carlos Williams, as well as his motto (Yang 2). In Williams’ works he incorporates his motto into almost every poem. “No ideas but in things” simply means that Williams strives to have his reader illicit ideas through is dictional and structural imagery. Throughout his works, this ideal is presented. As William Carlos Williams’ literary content becomes exponentially obscure and abstract, the syntax and style in which his works are illustrated develop in the same way.
In the Poem, “As the Cat” by William Carlos Williams, a correlation between content and syntax is apparent. The simplistic aspects of the poem reflect the poem’s syntax, which has no aesthetic meaning. In William’s poem, the content is simply about a cat moving, it has no abstract diction, it’s not verbose, and it is purely simple,
“As the cat
the top of
the jam closet
first the right
forefoot… (Poet 1)”.
The content of this poem is bland, dry, and without abstract detail. It much like the structure of the poem. As shown here in this quote, the syntax in which this poem is arranged is simple and even throughout, illustrating the correlation between content and structure, for both are the same. There is no shift in the content of the poem and as a result, there is no variation in style. The tone of this poem is somewhat melancholy and oblique. A drab tone reflects the drab nature of the structure in which the poem is written. Considering the facts, there is a definite association between style and content in William’s poetry.
The lack of aesthetic meaning in “As the Cat” further portrays the obvious link between structure and content. The content of the poem has no taste, flavor, nor any underlying principles. As a result, the structure of this poem follows suit; a standardly organized poem with no...