{To A Mouse}

Robert Burns gives brilliant perception in his poem ” To a Mouse”. The Gaelic dialect and simplistic, yet powerful imagery aid in promoting a powerful message. Burns is, to me, imaginative by using a simple beast such as a mouse as a parallel for human folly. 

In the poem Burns details the inferiority a mouse, yet, after it’s home, which took months to construct, is destroyed, the resilience of the mouse is praised. The artistic reality of everyday life is amazing and is enhanced with the gruff yet beautiful writing. I find theres a common thread among Burns poetry; he uses the rough Gaelic dialect but the smooth words and deep content make it individual in the poetry genre. “To A Mouse” is my favorite of his works because it gives off a more intentional symbolism and speaks so profoundly of human nature. 

The mouse, so timid, is always going to be thought of as inferior, but, what I find amazing is that despite all this the mouse is better off. Not meaning that man’s position is unimportant but instead Burns chooses the mouses view of life as the lesser of two evils.
The most poignant line in the entire poem is at the end:
“But Mousie, you are not yourself alone
In testifying that planning may be useless.
The best-made plans of mice and men 
often go awry, 
and leave us nothing but grief and pain,
instead of the joy that we expected.” 
I admire the poet for speaking frankly about man and our need for control. What I think Burns is saying is that we often pride ourselves on our ability to plan and have insight to the future; indeed this is a God given gift, yet despite our planning, we still face adversaries, (The best-made plans of mice and men often go awry|and leave us nothing but grief and pain|instead of the joy that we expected.”) . And this applies to men and of beasts.

For me, it’s not the whole existence of the mouse that Burns encourages us to emulate but one specific characteristic: the mouses ability to move on. Man, for all his brilliant planning, isn’t resilient when it comes to his plans ” going awry” . The disappointment and grief is felt by both mouse and man, yet mans disappointment is doubled, not because of a harder loss, but because of his investment in his schemes. I think the mouse is wary of life’s injustice and because of that he doesn’t let the pain of loss stop him from moving on. His lack of dependency on his plans make it easier for him to progress. As the poem describes, his home is destroyed by a plow and must rebuild before winter frosts. In retrospect, the mouses response is, to me, admirable.

So in closing, the poet Robert Burns uses the simple trait of adaptability and open mindedness in a mouse as an example for human life. I enjoy the perspective and humbling comparisons found in “To a Mouse.”


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