One of the greatest poetic minds of the 20th Century once said, “Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. ” It was Solari’s chief aspiration to show this to the world. “The Death and Transfiguration of a Teacher” was the story of a classroom full of children that slaughtered their teacher out of the clear blue, and then, “cannibalistically disposed of her remains.
The children are then individually questioned, there is an exchange of money on the part of each child’s parents, and after a while, all was, “conveniently forgotten”. (Solari 201) Solari’s use of magical realism immensely impacted the shape of the story, and shows the importance of poetry by elucidating the disarray that would follow if poetry was ever to be eradicated from society’s consciousness.
“The teacher was a poet endowed with great sensitivity and a romantic temperament. ” (Solari 198) At the start of the story, Solari speaks of the teacher and her plight of becoming a true poet.
She describes her life from such a personal perspective that it is believed that the teacher in the story could easily be a characterization Solari herself. She went about her life trying to show the meaning of poetry in life, but she was deprived of the privilege everywhere she turned. In the story, after being completely mocked by her students, she leaves the room, looks out to the empty schoolyard and she, “thought about her Calvary” (Solari 199) and how poets no longer have a place in the world.
Even the principal at the school she taught at scolded her for her passion for poetry, telling her to stop speaking of the “Subtleties they’ll never understand and they’ll never care about. ”(Solari 200) Solari is trying to show, throughout the narrative that poetry is no longer appreciated, that it is something that is just not what people are into in modern times, it is even looked down upon. Poetry gives meaning to life and is an expression of the self, but these people of the school, did not realize it.
They were not real people; they were just lifeless “stuffed animals” However, once the teacher is murdered, and poetry is removed from the lives of the children, all is not as well as one would expect. “The teacher was dead; she had been cannibalistically cut up by the girls who, after killing her, cannibalistically disposed of her remains. ” (Solari 198) This story is one of much symbolic importance, and in one way, the teacher herself represents poetry in society. After the teacher was killed, the people finally realized how much she had meant to the school.
The principal is shocked to see this teacher dead, but the parents of the children, are not so preoccupied with the death of the teacher. At an emergency PTA meeting held to decide what should be done with their predicament, fathers began to only worry about the damaging nature of stopping their daughters’ studies, without a single feeling of sorrow for the loss of the teacher. After all agreeing to release the information to the police and the press, the public goes mad.
This was the story of a lifetime, a news reporters dream, “The whole thing was blown up in the press and newspapers sold like hotcakes,” (Solari 201) but all things come to an end at some point; after some time, all hype and confusion was “conveniently forgotten” The principal of the school had decided to screen all prospective teachers for “Poetic tendencies, so as to avoid a repetition of this disagreeable and most inconvenient event,” (Solari 201)
Later in the story, Solari continues the extended metaphor of the stuffed animals, when the lifeless school, finds a taxidermist to fill in the seat of the deceased poet; exactly what a school full of “Stuffed animals” needs, a taxidermist to create more stuffed animals. In the final paragraphs of the story, the principal reflects on the death of the teacher, and thinks about his “Lost opportunity to have the slain Lit teacher stuffed, and label her ‘Poet,’”(Solari 201) Even then, after her death, he wished to show the danger of poetry, as he said it, the, “Egregious flaw in the Lords creation. ” This showing that even in the end, after the sacrifice of the teacher, no one had learned a single lesson.
It is no doubt that magical realism is present in this work, where the imagination and the beliefs of society come together to create something magically, beautiful. Here, in Maria Teresa Solari’s “Death and Transfiguration of a Teacher” is manifestation of such. Through the use of magical realism, Solari shows her readers the true significance of poetry, by narrating the frenzied repercussions of a classroom that lost all touch with poetry. Solari tried to get the message that we must realize how important poetry is in the expression of self, and as we lose grip of this art, we lose a part of ourselves. Solari may have lived in a world where poetry was lost, but her message was not forgotten.
Cite this The Death and Transfiguration of Poetry
The Death and Transfiguration of Poetry. (2017, Jan 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-death-and-transfiguration-of-poetry/