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The Beauty of Imperfection Essay

Today, many choose to express their love towards someone in song or poem form. This type of affection existed even in the 17th century. “Delight in Disorder” written by Robert Herrick, subtly expresses his love for a woman by highlighting her imperfections. Usually, women would take offense to such actions but Herrick successfully expressed how he loved her just the way she was. This poem also successfully conveys the theme of love and has a tone of assurance. I had an immediate connection with this poem because many girls worry about her image and Herrick implies that true beauty is not seen at the perfection of a woman.

The main theme of this poem is that perfection although perfect is not always perfection. That one flaw or imperfection adds that extra flair that being perfection could never attain. Herrick opens the poem with “A sweet disorder in the dress” (L. 1); his usage of the word sweet immediately signals the reader that disorder is being used in a positive rather than negative manner. He highlights each imperfection: “an erring lace” (L. 5) “a cuff neglectful” (L. 7) and “a careless shoe-string” (L. 11) while still admiring them and the woman herself.

He uses poetic techniques that reflect the theme diction such as adjectives of imperfection, rhyme, and using clothing imagery to parallel art. These techniques hold the reader’s attention and also give them a clear message and image in their head. “Delight in Disorder” also highlights the importance of unique self- expression. Using clothing imagery, the tone of assurance shines through. Herrick is assuring the woman that he loves that being flawed is beautiful to him, even more that he prefers imperfections to a “precise art”. This poem can be seen as a unique love poem because seldom do men express their love in such an unusual way.

Herrick manages to express his love through highlighting the imperfections of the woman. There is also a deeper insight into the complex realm of humanity and art, which engages the reader to connect with him. I believe this poem is very successful and has great themes and an evident persona. The persona is evidently, a man who is observing a woman. The poem is almost a collection of thoughts, a glimpse of what went on in his head while he was watching. It is very easy for the reader to hear a voice through the poem as well; the tone can be drawn from he usage of different adjectives and even with just the structure of the poem.

In conclusion, “Delight in Disorder” successfully conveyed the message that beauty can be found even among the flaws of humanity and art. It describes that imperfections are more alluring and powerful than perfection. In society today, the perception of perfection has become so powerful that being unique can be detrimental. There needs to be a change in the way us woman view ourselves, and as Herrick believed, real beauty can only exist with imperfections and flaws.


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