A little learning by alexander pope

” A little learning by alexander pope ” is a beautiful poem composed by Alexander Pope, the greatest poet and most representative of the early 18th century. Pope was a Roman Catholic and as such he could neither get any school education nor could hope to secure a government job.

This made him embittered frustrated and quarreled some. As such he satirized as many individuals as social follies, political corruption, and moral lapses of his age.

He made his fortune chiefly by translating epics of Homer. He is best known for The Rape of the Lock ‘, Dunciad, ‘ Stories and Epistles ‘, ‘ Essay of Man ‘ and ‘ An Essay of Criticism ‘.

Here in the given poem, Pope has expressed his views on learning. According to him, a little learning is a dangerous thing and everyone should try to best to have sufficient learning.

A little learning summary

If he is never thinking of learning at all. In support of his views, the poet has given the imagery of drinking wine. If a man drinks a little drought of wine, he gets intoxicated.

He losses the balance of mind and gets himself lost in an imagery world. But when the wine is taken in sufficient dose, is restored sobriety to the mind. The balance of proportion returns to him and he starts enjoying the reality.

Pope advises the readers to drink deep in the Pierian spring i.e knowledge or learning. According to Greek mythology – Pierian is a district in Thessaly where muses the goddesses of learning and poetry are said to reside. Hence the poet is of the opinion that by getting more and more knowledge.

We get depth and scholarship. A man with little knowledge always thinks that he knows more and he has already scaled the highest of learning and arts. He is so misguided that he boasts of his vast knowledge in spite of his little learning.

Learning is like a mountaineer who thinks to have reached the peaks though he is the valley itself. But as he goes higher and higher, the real high and vastness of the mountain become visible. In such conditions, he is surprised to find how distant the peaks are In the same way the more learner learns the more conscious he becomes of the endless vistas of learning and knowledge. As his eyes wander through the unexplored area as perspective goes on expanding.

A little learning

As a result, he gets tired of sights of hills peeping over hills and Alps arising on the Alps. In the same way, as a learner acquire more and more knowledge, he comes to realize that he has only picked up a few pebbles while the vast ocean of knowledge lies unexpired before him.

The very first line of the poem represents the central idea that inadequate learning is totally dangerous. The poet has adopted didactic manners to teach readers that they showed have sufficient learning at all. Then again the poet has established an identity between learning and mountaineering.

A little learning Essay

The given poem is a living example of a new classical view of things. Pope is considered to be a successful craftsman and this poem is a very fine example of his craftsmanship where he has presented a universal idea with absolute perfection.

A little learning by alexander pope
A little learning by alexander pope

The theme of the poem has been handled successfully in a charming and attractive style. The use of alliterations has made the poem sonorous. But Pope’s views on learning are based and one-sided and seem not acceptable in too. A man should try to know more and more. But it seems awfully awkward that a little knowledge will prove harmful.

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