A Red, Red Rose Essay

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David Kelly teaches courses in Creative Writing, Poetry and Drama at College of Lake County and Oakton Community College, in Illinois. The following essay examines the idea of "simplicity" in "A Red, Red Rose," questioning whether it is really as easy to understand as most readers would like to believe.

I have seen readers bulldoze through Robert Burns's "A Red, Red Rose" in thirty seconds, or however long it takes to sift all of the letters through their visual screen, and then sit back and say they know it. A bad sign is when, asked to explain it, they start with, "It's just ..." or "All he's saying is ...," to prepare the listener for the fact that there isn't much to be said. I don't know why anyone thinks poetry is something to be understood as quickly as it is read. I do know that sometimes students are forced...

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This section contains 1,857 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Red, Red Rose Study Guide
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A Red, Red Rose from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.