An Essay on Criticism- E portfolio

This term in literature we worked with a brand new creative task. Our teacher Pat told us to get in pairs and choose a poem from our book Stories of Ourselves. After choosing each group a different poem we had different tasks to work with. First of all, we had to look up for information about the author of the poem we choose, in order to be able to understand better the poem and in a deeper way. Then we also researched to which movement this poem is part of. We also analysed the themes, tones, literary devices and the meaning of the poem’s title. Finally, the most creative and entertaining part of the activity was to make a drawing or a collage which represented the poem we choose and it’s author.


I’ve worked with Valentina Re and we analysed the poem “From an Essay on Criticism” by Alexander Pope, a British writer born in the 17th century. After all the research we made we found out that this incredible poem, which was published on 1709, is part of the enlightenment movement. The enlightenment movement in literature was an intellectual movement which emphasized reason, individualism and specktism. This movement presented a challenge to traditional religious views and it died nearly in the 19th century as Romanticism gained appeal. We also did a huge research on the title of this well- known poem; the name of it is very literal. Throughout the poem Alexander Pope deals with critics and kind of “teaches people how the should criticise”. He shows us the way in which we should give advice to someone else’s work. With this poem Alexander Pope is trying to transmit to us readers a very clear message. He is trying to show us how much we tend to critic what others do. We tend to judge and criticise everything. What the author says to use with this poem is how frustrating is that you work so hard to achieve something and then people criticise it. It points out the fact that we tend to judge although we know very little about others. In spite of this, Pope does not say that we shouldn’t criticise; he says that we should learn to how to do it and also how to deal with the critics. And although the critics might come from others they may also come from yourself and your lack of confidence with yourself. In the collage that we made we included a quote from Alexander Pope which shows exactly what I am saying: “criticism is part of the creative man’s journey, and I appreciate it”. He points out that criticism is good but we should know how to do it. 


I personally loved this task first of all, because we got to choose the poem that we wanted to work with which was great. Second of all, I loved the last activity about making a collage as it was very interesting and I loved looking for pictures and quotes; and also I was able to include a quote I had saved from pinterest that I didn’t know it was from Alexander Pope so it was great that I could use a quote that I liked a lot in our work. Finally, I also loved the topic that this poem dealt with. I am always worried about critics and I tend to give them to much attention and after analysing this poem I realised that the there are critics which are meant to hurt us and make us lose our confidence in ourselves, so I shouldn’t pay attention to them. I should listen to the good critics, to the ones that help we understand and work on my mistakes; to the ones that help me grow.

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