Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

Oscar Wilde was a famous, and somewhat controversial poet and writer from Dublin. He was born in 1854 and contributed to the Victorian era of poetry and the Aesthetic Movement. He lived a very traditional life, so it seemed. His parents were both scholarly, as his father was a surgeon who also published books and his mother was a poet. He went to college and worked for different publications as an editor and reviewer. He had gotten married and had kids. Throughout his life, beginning in college, he had published many different poems, plays, and literary pieces. He gained lots of traction and criticism, as many of his works touched on progessive and taboo topics at that time, for example, death and homosexuality. He was eventually even sent to prison for his acts of homosexuality and openness about it.

I believe he is definitely a “wild” writer because of his fearlessness in the subjects he writes about. He was very progressive and shocking for his time, and was brave enough to talk about homosexuality and reveal secrets about his personal life, regardless of what others thought. I admire how unconventional he is, and he is not afraid of speaking out about what he thinks is important. Of course, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a good example, and probably most well-known example of this. However, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, I found particularly interesting. It is his last published piece before he died, and it talks about the harsh conditions he endured when he was in jail.

I never saw a man who looked With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went With sails of silver by.
I walked, with other souls in pain,Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done A great or little thing,

Dear Christ! the very prison walls Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,

My pain I could not feel.

It was a direct demand for prison reform, which was a very wild idea for his time as well. He used strong emotional appeals and metaphors to convey to his audience the need for change. He talks about how his tiny prison cell and awful living conditions were so demeaning that the crime he committed seemed insignificant in comparison.

elina chen


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3 Responses to Blog Post 7: Is Wilde “Wild”?

  1. vtn477

    I agree with your perception of the poet’s wildness. I like how you acknowledged that prison reform was strange and uncommon at this time. I find it sort of “eye-opening” when we realize that the poet had personally experienced what he is describing. This background information that you describe enhances the writer’s wildness. Good Job!

  2. kcl928

    I like your interpretation of Wilde’s wildness coming from fearlessness of what to write about. This decision to defy social norms and write about his own beliefs is very outstanding of him. I also like the variety of background information that you had provided about Wilde, showing that he was a very multifaceted person.

  3. ham2642

    The example you gave to really emphasize Wilde’s thoughts is very well thought out. Its so interesting to see how ahead of his time he was in the form of how society viewed homosexuality. To be treated so inhumanly because of simply because you love a different sex, his work made readers at the time question what was wrong and what was right in societies eyes.

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