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Wislawa Szymborska’s Literary Works Analysis


Wislawa Szymborska is considered to be an outstanding Polish poet and essayist. Her works stand out from all others by their prominent character and individuality. The author’s style is unique and expressive; she always tries to differentiate her poems from others by disclosure of major philosophical and ethical themes. The author tries to use a number of stylistic devices and expressive means in her works. To the well-known works refer the following: “Monologue of a dog” and “View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems”. It should be noted that Wislawa Szymborska was awarded the Noble prize for her marvelous contribution to the world of literature development and her books are really of great importance for modern readers.

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Works Analysis

The books “Monologue of a dog” and “View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems” can be characterized by the selective style of every poem. The author managed to mix paradox, irony, and contradiction to illuminate the principle idea of her works. The monologue of a Dog is a combination of poems united through the common style and themes. The author strived to show reality through fascinating images of virtual circumstances. The opening poem called “Monologue of a dog ensnared in History” is considered to be the initial element of the war theme presented in numerous poems of the author. Thus, Szymborska illustrated the dog standing for the citizens being unable to resist the pressure of dictators. The theme of feelings is considered to be centralized in major of her books. For example, in the book “View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems” the author concentrates on the feelings of joy and sorrow trying to underline their similarities:

“Joy and sorrow aren’t two different feelings for the human soul,
The soul attends us when the two are joined” (Szymborska, )

The collection of comparative poetry of the author is aimed at highlighting the major themes of humanity such as feelings, war, relationships. The mixture of war themes with love and emotions resulted in very expressive poems presented in Monologue of a Dog.

We were chatting
and suddenly stopped short.
A lovely girl stepped onto the terrace,
so lovely, too lovely for us to enjoy our trip. (Szymborska, Memory)

Being a Nobel laureate, Szymborska could always create very surprising poems disclosing almost everything one can only think about.

Everything – a bumptious, stick-up word.
It should be written in quotes,
It pretends to miss nothing. (Monologue of a Dog: Everything, 2005)

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It should be stressed that Wislawa Szymborska made a very profound contribution to the development of world literature, not only Polish one. The award was really deserved by the author as she managed to create a great majority of works disclosing the main values of life and influencing the destiny of their readers. Speaking about the book “View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems”, it should be stressed that this masterpiece is recognized as the best collection of poems of the Polish writer. The author managed to combine the fantastic lightness of individuality and all the entire worlds to pack into, a grain of sand. It is difficult to identify the direction of the author’s style due to its versatility and profoundness. Thus, one can also notice that together with war themes and virtual representation, Szymborska can be perceived as the love poet. Her poems devoted to the feelings disclosure are quire tender and beautiful, but realistic at the same time.

True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
Like a scandal in Life’s highest circles. (Szymborska, 1995)

The question of love existence and human need of this feeling is raised in plenty of poems of hers. She wrote about love:

It couldn’t populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely. (Szymborska, 1995)

The words “comes so rarely” depict ruined hopes of the author as to the power of love and its main calling. The analysis of Szymborska’s works gives an opportunity to evaluate the brilliance of her style and manner of theme presentation. The most important feature for the author characteristic is considered to be the ability to be readable; Szymborska has this quality and her works are really unique and significant. She managed to combine sophisticated elements in colloquial language that is why her works are easy to read and perceive.

Though the number of works written by Szymborska is not large enough, nevertheless they contain the existential puzzling character. The poems are to be deeply analyzed for the readers to be completely involved in the author’s world. Not in vain all her books are translated into English for them to be promoted on the international level. Monologue of a Dog and View with a Grain of Sand are great examples of Szymborska’s style of writing. The Noble prize won by Szymborska in 1996 as the Polish writer provided the nomination form:

“…poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality” (Tilendis, 2006)

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The author’s poems differ from others because they join mundane with transcendent in some way which is considered to be characteristic only of her works. Besides, it is difficult to guess the mood f her works. Sometimes her poems are filled with humor and in some cases with a negative atmosphere. Not all Szymborska’s poems are gentle; there are some works such as, for example, List where the author managed to insert profound sentiments into some unremarkable events.

When will wars cease,
And what will replace them…?
(Szymborska, Monologue of a Dog.)

These words remind of the feeling of something empty, of a certain vacuum inside the person. Szymborska’s books appeared to be the embodiment of different literature styles reflecting the problems important for life.


The analysis of the books “Monologue of a dog” and “View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems” managed to show the individuality and uniqueness of Szymborska’s style of writing. It should be stressed that the works under consideration demonstrated the combination of various themes united by common elements such as the perfect manner of presentation and emotionality reflected by the author. The Noble Prize was presented to an honored Polish writer who contributed to the world of literature her own world of inner experience and consciousness.


  1. Szymborska, Wislawa. Monologue of a Dog. Harcourt,112 p. 2005.
  2. Szymborska, Wislawa. View with a Grain of Sand. Selected Poems. Harvest Books, 1995.
  3. Tilendis, Robert. Szymborska, Wislawa. 2006. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Wislawa Szymborska’s Literary Works Analysis." October 20, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Wislawa Szymborska’s Literary Works Analysis." October 20, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Wislawa Szymborska’s Literary Works Analysis'. 20 October.

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