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Essay Comparing The Bear And Ode On A Grecian Urn

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“The Bear” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn” are two different fictional works that were written decades apart from each other; however, the contents of each piece portray a similar concept of temptation. Faulkner composes a short story about a young boy searching for an animal deemed immortal while Keats constructs a poetic paradox on the subject of fixated beauty. In both works of literature, the two authors convey that compulsive obsessions can alter our perceptions of reality; they exhibit the aforementioned theme through their heavy usage of imagery and symbolism. With their utilization of imagery, Faulkner and Keats portray the obsessive behaviors their characters’ inhibit to emphasize how their fixations blinded them of their verisimilitude.…show more content…
For instance, Faulkner’s short story symbolizes the bear as a terrifying and dominant figure in the forest which the hunters “feared because it was the wilderness” (Faulkner 179). Old Ben represents the wilderness, and the men were so fixated and obsessed on challenging the animal to take him down that they neglected themselves of their own surroundings; they were scared of Old Ben, yet they continued to pursue him as a target, highlighting how unaware they were about their own feelings. The bear himself was “solitary, indomitable . . . alone . . . and absolved of mortality” (Faulkner 181), presenting him as an everlasting symbol to nature. He is the very essence of the wilderness, and he evokes a perplexing aura to the hunters tracking him down (O’Connor 1). Even though he is an animal, the hunters also view Old Ben as a human, interpreting his “almost hairless body” as an “old man’s body” (Faulkner 220). The men awoke from their delirious state of bloodlust as soon as the very symbol that fueled their expedition was vanquished. They felt as if their lives passed away alongside the bear. In comparison to “The Bear,” Keats symbolizes the urn in his poem as a “[b]old [l]over” that is the gist of the speaker’s infatuation (Keats 2). His fixation on the object’s beauty leads him to further explore the contents on it. Inscribed upon the urn’s exteriors were “marble men and maidens” (Keats 5), accompanying the “spirit ditties of no tone” (Keats 2), showing to the speaker how the ancient engravings recite a story about the “deities [and] mortals” whom were relevant to the ideals of beauty (Keats 1). The poem explicates that the urn is a symbol of melodies that fall deaf on the ears, and the urn’s beauty is timeless yet only an ideality, sparking the
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