Critical Analysis Of “The Painter” By John Ashbury

A deep and careful Critical Analysis Of “The Painter” By John Ashbury at the culmination of his poetic talents. Ashbery had god-gifted abilities and capabilities of writing poetry. From the very early career of his poetry, he tried to lay down new ways and rules of expression. His poems are highly thought-provoking and innovative.

Critical Analysis Of "The Painter" By John Ashbury

It is one of the best traits of his poetry that he always writes in paragraph-length – associative structures. This very technique penetrates the essence of the poetry and the structures of sentences penetrate layer after layer deeply into anxieties, doubts, and false beliefs.

He is equal to Spenser, Pope, and Tennyson in his artistic perfection. His artistic perfection is always deep-seated in every line of this poem. In addition to it, there are also two main traits of exactness and directness in his poetry. He becomes a master in his fluency of expression and no other poet is equal in his simplicity of diction. He always writes so, simply that an average reader can easily understand the real feelings and emotions of his personality. How simple and understandable this sentence in its

How simple diction is:

“Sitting between these sea and the buildings

He enjoyed painting the sea’s portrait”

Most of the ideas; expressed by him are easy to inculcate for an average reader. He can imagine an idea even while sitting between the sea and the buildings on the shore. He himself is enjoying the idea of painting a portrait of the sea. His used language in the poetry is so simple that it resembles the language of prose. His poetic language meets the criteria of the language of the prose as said by W. Worth in his theory of poetic diction. He thinks that the sea would itself paint the canvas naturally and automatically like the fulfillment of a child’s prayer. He feels that the people of the buildings allure him to paint the canvas. He is instigated to choose another thing to be painted if not the sea but he is unable to explain his-utter desire (prayer) to them.

He simply utters as: “That nature, not art, might usurp the canvas”.

He has a natural tendency of depicting the real things of nature and prefers nature to art. He does not make any subject or image or idea difficult for his readers to understand. That’s why he always uses an easier subject on the advice of the people. He chooses his wife as a model. But the portrait does not satisfy his ideals and aspirations. Then he dips his brush into the sea and silently prays that his next portrait should be the portrait of the sea itself.

To satisfy his inner mental as well as physical desires, he depicted such kinds of portraits of natural things.

His, this utterance presents clear-cut proof of his inner satisfaction.

“My soul, when I paint this next portrait 

Let it be you who wrecks the canvas”. 

These sentences make the confusion and anarchy of his thought clear. Ashbery was such a kind of poet who wanted to do something extraordinary for humanity, but people did not let him execute or fulfill his desires and aspirations. Whenever he followed them, nature did not follow him and he remained always in great confusion about “what to do”?

His decision of using the sea as a subject spread like news of wildfire among the people of the buildings. It is very painful to see a painter baffled by his subject and his canvas totally unpainted: For this, he was often, made an object of mockery and fun by some other artists. They mock and ridicule him for his inability to choose a subject for his painting. They also say that they will not paint impossible subjects like the sea because it is a stupid and worthless idea. Due to people’s this criticism, he finally decides to lose the idea and the canvas remains blank when he leaves his brush. Perhaps, he becomes a victim of such a view that man proposes while God disposes and man is a plaything in the hands of his fate.

A dreadful howl or vice, at once, rises from the overcrowded buildings; his portrait is hurled down from the tallest building and the sea swallows the canvas, the brush, and his subject remains prayer.

From the above images of his poetry, it becomes clear that Ashbery always paints an accurate life-like picture of his subjects. He tries to give or present a true reflection of the natural surroundings and prefers nature over art. He always writes to satisfy his own inner desires and aspirations just as a bird sings in its own voice for its own delight and pleasure. 

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