Envy Analysis by Mary Lamb

This is Analysis of Envy by Mary Lamb. We'll be looking at the meaning of the poem and the use of language on likely devices.

About Mary Lamb: 

Mary Lamb lived during what we call the Romantic period that she was part of a circle of influential writers William Blake and William Wordsworth.

Many people are in this like literally circle a bit eccentric so William Blake was a religious fanatic at a nudist. William Wordsworth was possibly in love with his sister and there was this other guy called Samuel Coleridge who was constantly high on opium.

Mary Lamb was may different. She suffered mental illness throughout her life. But she still went on to have a long career in writing poems for children.

Envy Poem Analysis:

Envy compared an envious person to a rose tree. It suggests that it is foolish not appreciate your own qualities and to desire qualities of others.

Lamb was famous for her children's writing we can expect it to be very simple and it is a very simple poem. So it's got a simple meter and a simple rhyme scheme. There's an AABCCB rhyme scheme throughout.

In stanza 1: It discusses that the rose tree is foolish for wanting to change as it's impossible it's against the natural order of things.

In stanza 2: We see the positive attributes of the raise.

In stanza 3: The moral message is presented.

In the first stanza, we see the theme of nature. It's presented extremely positively which suggests that the natural order of things is the ideal. So the way things are is the way things we should want them to be.

The way story is personified so it's given emotions and give in select four places. The personification of nature is very common in people was a Nursery Rhymes. Nursery Rhymes and people are often they often present a moral message which gives it a didactic element so this is a didactic poem.

We've got a literary device which is used twice in this poem called an anastrophe and that's where word orders are swapped around within a sentence. So we've got 'violet-blue', 'nor lily fair' it should be the blue-violet nor the fair lily and it emphasizes the beauty of the flowers by swapping the order.

In the second stanza, we have some repetition of vocabulary or lexical choices from the first stanza. Again this as to the simplicity but also emphasizes the idea of the beige tree, not wanting so the base tree wanting to change.

We've got a bit of alliteration with red raised and we've got a lot of Sensory writing so we have the colors, we have the gentle shower and, we have the rose's scent.

And this all adds to the idea of nature being good and the rose being good and also gives a sense of simplicity and a nursery rhyme light quality.

Stanza 3 is where the more message comes to fruit. We start off with a Simile 'like such a blind and senseless tree'. So we see that the tree throughout has been a simile for something else. Again we see a anastrophe because sentences don't you to start with like say the order of their sentence in this stanza has been switched in order to emphasize the more message.

The theme of blindness and foolishness comes to completion in this stanzas where we see it throughout the phases such as in vein or near had seen. But we see it in the first line of blind and senseless so that's the theme of blindness and foolishness.

We get them all message that people should look at the good qualities in their own personality and to cultivate those things and they'll probably find something that they can value in their selves.


We have the metaphor pretty flower for positive attributes. We also get the use of first person in this stanza with the "I've imagined" So we've got a narrator speaking and is the narrator like a teacher or is it someone discussing their personal experience with jealousy that something that you can interpret yourself.

Finally just a little bit of a discussion about where Envy comes into the theme of conflict because it's not quite as obvious as the other ones such as Thomas Hardy's poem is obviously about war and that's complete but this one is about internal conflicts are being unhappy with yourself. So maybe a sense of self-loathing so you're you know almost at war in your own mind with your personality. And you've got interpersonal conflict as well with the words Envy the title of the poem and envious. So you're being jealous of something else and that can cause feelings of hatred.


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