Pessimism for Beginners - Sample Essay

Pessimism for Beginners and A Consumer’s Report both are very similar in how they show how life should be enjoyed more and that we should stop always thinking negatively, being pessimistic. They also both sarcastically devalue life as well as using some humour to convey their ideas, where Pessimism for Beginners is like an instruction manual, telling you how to be pessimistic while A Consumer’s Report has an extended metaphor, relating life to a product. The poems both reveal how we are very pessimistic, always taking life so seriously and negatively, and end up wasting it.

Pessimism for Beginners uses hyperbole saying “bash you head with a stone”, using violent imagery with the word “bash” as well as “peck”. This exaggerates how we think negatively and hence creates the mocking tone of the poem. A Consumer’s Report also shows the pessimism of our human nature when saying “I had it as a gift, I didn’t feel much”. This oxymoron is created through how “gift” is very positive describing life as a miracle, but the next line is negative. This emphasizes how we waste our life, thinking negatively and not enjoying life like how we should.

Alliteration is used in Pessimism for Beginners, when saying “venal and vile”. The “v” sound is very plosive and the words are very harsh to show our negative thinking. This is further extended with sibilance, where it says “cursing and hissing”, where the repeating of the “s” makes the sound to be like a snake hissing at you. It suggests that the others are silently planning something as snakes can often be regarded as deceitful and sly. It makes it very aggressive and it reveals how we are always worrying of what others are thinking of ourselves, thinking negatively that they hate you.

This feeling of everyone hating you is shown a bit differently in “A Consumer’s Report” which reveals how our life actually has no purpose. It says “to keep its maker in a job”, showing how we are not important to this world, but are just here to be the product of God. This devalues our life and reveals how worthless it is which although is different from what Pessimism for Beginner says, they both create the same effect of making us feel alone. This shows how pessimistic we are always thinking that no-one else likes us. To conclude, both poems are clearly very pessimistic, showing our human nature.

The poems also use some kind of indirect way of portraying their message, where “A Consumer’s Report” uses an extended metaphor, relating life to a product while “Pessimism for Beginners” is like an instruction manual, being very sarcastic on how to be pessimistic. A Consumer’s Report looks at life as a product and it metaphorically reviews it. It says “I have used much more than I thought”, metaphorically referring to how life is short and that it will finish quickly and therefore you must try to enjoy it. However, the way the message is portrayed is like a product.

On the other hand, Pessimism for Beginners uses imperatives to make the poem seem like an instruction manual. At the start of the lines it repeats “don’t” several times, making it sound like a manual with very simple advice stating what to do. In addition, the rhyme scheme is also ABAB with a regular four line stanzas. This makes it seem like the point by point steps which a manual would give; it is very simple and regular. On the other hand, A Consumer’s Report does not use a rhyme scheme or rhythm to make it seem like a report.