Analysis of Lepidoptera by Richard de Zoysa

Lepidoptera By Richard de Zoysa – Summary and Analysis

On broken butterfly wing, your crippled mind
fluttered into my schoolroom. Failed. And died.
I couldn’t do a thing to stir its organs
of poor maimed sense to life again.

Only sensation. Reflex twitch
of feelers. And for me sentiment.
Occasional small rapture at your velvet
softness and smoothness. Soon the ants of time
carry you away from chalk and Chaucer
into oblivion.

Farewell, lovely.
The heavy footed State, which made a mess
of your fragility, called this progress,
should pin you down on cardboard behind glass
specimen of the educated class.

Lepidoptera Tamil Explanation

VOCABULARY

01.crippled = unable to walk or move properly
02.fluttered= flapped the wings quickly
03.maimed = injured, damaged
04.sensation =a physical feeling
05.reflex =an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought
06.feelers= the two antennae on the head of an insect
07.twitch =give a short, sudden jerking or convulsive movement.
08.sentiment = a feeling or emotion
09.rapture =a feeling of intense pleasure
10.Chaucer= an English poet
11.oblivion= the state of being unconscious of what is happening
12.mess = a confused state of affairs

Subject-matter
a student who failed to reach his educational target

Main theme:

unsuitability of the education in Sri Lanka. The education in Sri Lanka does not cater to the needs of the young generation.

Sub themes:

the youth’s unrest
compassionate attitudes of a teacher towards a student
desperate competition in education

TECHNIQUES

appropriate words and phrases
broken butterfly wing
your crippled mind
maimed sense

reflex twitch
the ants of time
chalk and Chaucer
The heavy footed State
fragility

Apostrophe
your crippled mind

Humanization
your crippled mind
Personification
maimed sense

Comparison:
the student is compared to a butterfly.(Lepidoptera)

metaphor :
ants of time
chalk and Chaucer:- the traditional education
The heavy footed State:- the powerful state

Implication:
Failed. And died. : the student’s failure
should pin you down on cardboard behind glass
specimen of the educated class.

Phrases
01. crippled mind=damaged mind
02.maimed sense =sense not active because it is damaged
03.velvet softness and smoothness=soft and smooth like velvet
04.chalk and Chaucer= education (Here Chaucer is used as a symbol of education)
05.the heavy footed State= powerful authoritative state
06.should pin you down(pinned insect) = specimen of the educated class(certificated scholars)

LITERARY STUDY

On broken butterfly wing, your crippled mind

The butterfly in the poem is symbolic of a student who is lost in the process of education. The poet is the teacher. One wing of the butterfly is broken so it denotes that it cannot fly. It is compared to a crippled mind. A mind is normally not crippled but a person. The student’s mind is crippled because he has exerted his brain on the uncreative education.

Fluttered into my schoolroom. Failed. And died.

The butterfly fluttered in to the teacher’s classroom. But the implicit meaning of this line is that the student came to his class, failed to reach his target and failed his whole life. This denotes that our education is based on rote learning and not on creativity. Here the teacher is incapable of doing anything for the student’s benefit as he cannot change the
education system.

I couldn’t do a thing to stir its organs
of poor maimed sense to life again.

Sense is inanimate. Yet it is poor and maimed. Only a person can be poor and an organ maimed. So ‘sense’ is personified here referring to the student’s mind.

Only sensation. Reflex twitch
of feelers. And for me sentiment

It has only physical feeling. A reflex twitches. That means this is the last moment of the butterfly. What is denoted here is that the student is delirious over his failure.

And for me sentiment

The teacher just has a feeling of emotion. He sympathizes with the plight of the student. He not only sympathizes with the plight of this particular student but also the whole student community who are victimized by the same plight.

Occasional small rapture at your velvet
softness and smoothness.

Occasionally it has a small pleasurable feeling. That is a sign of nearing death. At the same time the poet describes the physique of the creature. It is a beautiful delicate thing. The student is compared the butterfly physically. The butterfly is going to face the physical death but the student is going to face frustration.

Soon the ants of time
carry you away from chalk and Chaucer
into oblivion.

He makes a prediction comparing time to ants. Here chalk and Chaucer are symbols for education. The butterfly’s dead body will be carried by ants soon and it will be forgotten. Similarly, the memory of the student’s plight will be erased by time.

Farewell, lovely

The poet takes his leave of the butterfly explicitly and actually he takes his leave of the student.

The heavy footed State, which made a mess of your fragility, called this progress,

Here the state is personified as a giant. This powerful giant made a mess by introducing a wrong education. The fragile little thing was victimized. But he calls it progress.

Analysis of Lepidoptera by Richard de ZoysaShould pin you down on cardboard behind glass
specimen of the educated class.

Pinning down on a cardboard is a symbol. In biology practicals the butterfly undergoes this
fate. The student is not different from the butterfly.

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