The Snail Poem Summary, Analysis & Central Idea-William Cowper

The article is about the summary, analysis (appreciation), central idea and significance of the title of the poem The Snail by William Cowper. Study the article carefully and try to understand the nature of the poem. The summary, analysis and central idea are given in separate paragraphs. So let’s begin.

The Snail Poem Summary

The poem is divided into four stanzas. The poem takes us into the private world of a snail, where it is seen to lead a self-sufficient life. Readers can observe in minute detail, the small yet self-contained world in which a snail lives.

In the first stanza, the snail fearlessly fixes close to the glass, leaf, fruit, or wall. He does not fear falling and behaves as if the place is his birth and his deciding place.

In the second stanza, the snail secures his safety in his Hiding Place when he feels any obstacle or danger is likely to happen soon.

In the third stanza, the snail draws back his eyes-stalks into his house on being displaced when he is slightly touched.

It is stated that the snail likes to reside alone He has no wealth but he is satisfied with himself in the 4th stanza.

He leads a hermit-like life and needs no partner for his meal. But if he meets someone, he feeds faster.

The person who fails to find the real snail must be more than blind.

Critical Analysis of The Snail

William Cowper‘s poem The Snail shows the poet’s love for nature and his observation power. The minute details of the snail’s habitat, habits, moods etc prove the poet’s close relationship with nature.

The common idea about a snail is that it is an intensitive small creature. But the poet is of the opinion that it is sensitive enough and intelligent too. It lives on grass or fruit or leaves or walls without the fear of falling. This shows its confidence. It shrinks into its shell at the slightest touch or at the possibility of any danger. This proves that it is an over-sensitive creature. It also expresses its displeasure when disturbed by anything or anyone. Like a hermit, it loves to live a lonely life. Its only wealth is its shell but it is well satisfied. Here the poet’s desire to lead a hermit’s life is expressed. With simple language, he depicts the snail’s life.

For this, he has used a unique rhyme scheme which may be represented as aaab cccb dddb eeeb.

Central Idea of The Snail

The central idea of the poem “The Snail is the simple but self-dependent life of a small creature which is not well noticed by human beings. Through the depiction of the snail’s life, the poet wants to praise its hermit-like lifestyle. The poet wants to tell that it leads an isolated life in its own world.

Significance of the Title

In this poem, the poet takes the Reader to the private world of a snail which is generally disliked by common people. Reading the poem, the Reader can know the real nature of a snail and its inseparable relationship with its house, its shell. The likes and dislikes of the creature are also expressed in the poem. It is the central character. So the title is appropriate.

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