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Manuba, Marie Joan Cris M.


In A Station Of The Metro by Ezra Pound and The New Criticism:

Through John Crowe Ransoms Structure and Texture

"THE apparition of these faces in the crowd;

Petals on a wet, black bough."
-Ezra Pound, In A Station Of The Metro

Professor John Crowe Ransom in his compilation of essays entitled The New Criticism
(1941) critically expanded on the nature of poetry and prose; the distinctions of both from one
another and on the literary appraisal or interpretations that these literatures naturally take. For
Ransom, schools or universities specializing in literature must concentrate precisely on their
proper business, which is criticism (cited in Blamires, 1991). Professors or people who hold high
esteem on the art of criticism and literature must not divert their focus on leftist advocacy or any
such moral system, for the concern is with Literature as an art with its own constitution and
structure (Blamires, 1991). From this critic and his principles, the proponent of this paper will
attempt to analyze Ezra Pounds poem entitled, In A Station Of The Metro. The researcher will
include the concepts of Ransoms Structure and Texture which are, identified by the acclaimed
critic, the two major distinctions of poetry from prose.

Imagism as a movement in literature banks on objects or things woven in the text to

highlight the humanistic emotions or feelings wrapped within. Closely reading Pounds poem, it
is therefore safe to say that there are images presented in it. These things are the following:
apparition, faces, crowd, petals, and a wet, black bough. All of these things are clearly on the
text, and it surmises a feeling, an emotion that can be felt relatively upon the reader of the poem.
Ransom identified Structure the story, the object, the situation, or whatever which gives us the
argument of the poem, and the Texture the thingness of the things or objects in the poem
by which the argument or the structure is particularized (Ransom, cited in Blamires, 1991).

For the texture of the poem, we can therefore identify the objects; one of the principles
of imagism is the particularization of words in the text. There should be not a word in the poem
that does not contribute to the presentation (Pound, et al. cited in Blamires, 1991). Therefore, every
object or things in this poem builds a holistic texture, in which the structure or the argument is
attempting to signify. For Pounds poem, it may represent the anonymity of the people in the
crowd. The use of words are particular to the faceless faces of people who are within a crowd, their
un-individuality and the monotony of the city life, considering that this poem is within the setting
of a station of the metro. The last line, however, leads the readers to a feeling of loss or emptiness
in nature, such as the words petals, black and bough signifies. The sharp contrast of city and
nature as well as the humanistic emotions in the poem encapsulates an instantaneous effect, as how
Pound puts it in his representation of image, a quick display of emotional and intellectual
complex, giving the reader a sense of sudden liberation (Pound cited in Blamires, 1991). As for
poetry, to scrutinize them closely as a text is to appreciate them further. In A Station of The Metro,
as a poem, succeeded in liberating the reader to feel emotions, not to give meanings or
implications, but to feel, in a sudden snap of time.

Pound, E. (1962). Personae, In A Station Of The Metro. Retreived from:
Blamires, H. (1992). A history of literary criticism. London: MacMillan.