Critical appreciation of diary of a church mouse

Essay by gunitA-, May 2004

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John Betjeman, an English poet, broadcaster and writer on architecture was born on 6th April 1906. One is tempted to say of Betjeman that he is an architect masque' and a poet by accident, for architecture has always been his chief preoccupation. He wrote many poems to do with Christianity. His poems were often humorous and this unusual quality was accepted and eventually became popular. One characteristic of Betjeman's poems was satire. With his use of satire, Betjeman communicates his views on themes such as hypocrisy and egotism in society.

The title 'Diary of a Church Mouse' is simple, concise and satirical. It defines the persona of a church mouse. The word Diary indicates that it is a personal experience. It is the recording of feelings and events in the life of the mouse in the church. In the 'Diary of a Church Mouse', Betjeman highlights the hypocrisy of certain types of people and their desire to be seen as high-class and virtuous while selfish and inconsiderate.

This poem takes the form of a narrative and is seen in the eyes of a church mouse. The mouse in the poem represents the type of people Betjeman is denouncing. It is not concerned with the religious and ritualistic aspects of the church but more with its status within the church and as seen through the eyes of other people.

The poem is an undivided unit as there are no verses used to separate ideas. All the lines of the poem are of the same length and are organized into rhyming couplets. It is a narrative piece as the mouse is talking about himself. The rhyming couplets give the poem a rhythmical flow. This is used to provide a rhythmical flow to the poem and keep the reader engrossed in the...