An Allusion to Culture
Hypothetically, say time travel were invented and two writers, one from today and one from a time long past, were given the same, very specific prompts. The likely result would be two entirely different products. Though the topic was the same, the two writers came from two very different times and cultures, producing two works unique to each. Just as light is absorbed and reflected by everything in the Universe, literature – poems, epics, ballads, stories, etc. – absorbs and reflects the cultures and qualities of the society in which it was written, defining and characterizing it, making it specific to that current society and culture. Sir Thomas Wyatt, a poet in the court of King Henry VIII, paints in his sonnets a picture of life in the Tudor times. In fourteen lines of Petrarchan sonnet, he gives an impression of the society and philosophy of which he is a part. For example, Wyatt’s sonnet, “Whoso List to Hunt” relates several important aspects of the Tudor period such as hunting, love, and deference to the King. This works in conjunction with language and form to create a poem that exemplifies the Tudor period and society. “Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind” is the opening line to Wyatt’s poem, “Whoso List to Hunt”, and from the start the reader is introduced to one of the Tudor period’s most popular pastimes, hunting. Hunting was the chosen sport of Tudor gentlemen (and even some women) and required strength, agility, and bravery. The quarry, typically deer as is the case in the poem or wild boar, is hotly pursued by men on horseback and when caught is grandly slaughtered and the skins used and the meat eaten. The sport could be dangerous - King Henry was almost killed while on a hunt - making it exhilarating and exciting. Although only noblemen were allowed to hunt for deer, the sport was widely favored and even the poor indulged in the pastime, hunting rabbit and hares. The...
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