....and if for some reason it's not from Shakespeare, it's from Chaucer

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"As I have said, I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up."

-------Chapter 2, Thoroeau, Waldon

Oddly enough, right as I was thinking "Wow, this is all pretty arrogant. Not all of us can just buy some land in the country and frolic in the woods contemplating the trees and rocks." This line hit me. First, theres the fact that he admits to his bragging. Which to me makes it come accross as less condescending. For a little while, I was getting the impression he was wondering why all the farmers were ruining their land by planting crops rather than frolicing in the bushes. (Yes, I'm seeing how many times I can use some form of the word "frolic" in this blog....thats 3).

Anyway, I like that he admitted he was boasting like the sort of fool-hardy rooster, who would ignore ominus dreams and land on the ground only to be approached by a fox, who would then trick him into shutting his eyes so that the fox can catch him, and then later escape by getting the fox to talk, thereby opening his mouth and releasing him....yep, its Chaucer. The Nun's Priest's tale.

This is an especially interesting allusion, as it relates more to the meaning of Chauntecleer's name, "He who sings with a clear voice," than anything that I mentioned in the last paragraph. In fact, as a cynic, I'll point out that there is no clear sign that he ever actually read The Canterbury Tales...though he probably did whilst hanging out in the forest. It's not like there was a whole lot of lit. available at the time. Anyway, the implication of this allusion, in light of the name, is that he's suggesting that his writing, (and he writes with a clear voice) will wake up the others, getting them to likewise frolic in the woods, appreciating nature's beauty.

So, in light of that, I return full-circle to my original reaction: pretentious, and arrogant. It honestly reminded me of the scene in an episode of South Park, "Butt Out," when Rob Reiner (who is the spokesman for some anti-smoking organization) tells a working-class guy in a bar that instead of smoking, he should do what he does to relax and go to his vacation home in Hawaii. Seems off topic, (I'm sleep deprived), but the tone is reminiscent of Thoroeau, in his suggestion that farmer's improvements ruin the land...he seems to ignore the fact that few people are as financially secure as he, and can afford to own something as expensive as land to serve as decoration.       

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