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Subbu had a separate identity as a poet and though he was certainly capable of more complex and higher forms, he deliberately chose to address his poetry to the masses. His success in films overshadowed and dwarfed his literary achievements—or so his critics felt. He composed several truly original 'story poems' in folk refrain and diction and also wrote a sprawling novel Thillana Mohanambal with dozens of very deftly etched characters. [—My Years with the Boss at Gemini Studios by Acōkamittiran (©2002)]

What I want to know about the context above regards two things about the first sentence:

First, what does "address poetry to the masses" mean in this sentence? i.e as a writer in what way is Subbu addressing his poetry to the masses?

Also, I don't understand what connection is there between Subbu having the capability of complex writing and him addressing his poems to the masses?

  • We can't say how he was addressing his poetry to the masses. Perhaps he was the Pam Ayres of his time, or published in a popular daily newspaper. The "connection" is that he is capable of complex writing and chooses not to do that. – Andrew Leach Feb 10 '18 at 8:53
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    It does appear that you are attempting an analysis of a printed work (which you won't actually cite). We don't really do that here. You may be interested in our sister site, English Language Learners, although please do take a look at their help to see what's on-topic. Our page is very similar. – Andrew Leach Feb 10 '18 at 8:56
  • Literary analysis, and interpretation of non-fictional passages, is probably more on-topic at LiteratureSE. Here, one can contrast the intelligentsia who confine their reading to classic literature with those who don't ('the masses'). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 10 '18 at 9:03
  • Thanks a lot, Andrew and Edwin! Both of your explanations helped me understand and get the answer of my question. Really thank you! – Rohit Shekhawat Feb 10 '18 at 9:21
  • There is an immense snobbery in that quote – it assumes that anything the masses are capable of appreciating is not worth serious literary consideration. But, for example, the masses were certainly capable of appreciating Shakespeare. Not to mention Bob Dylan. – Peter Shor Feb 10 '18 at 12:53
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masses noun 3.1 (the masses) The ordinary people. - ODO

The masses is a term frequently contrasted with the elite (I'm not trying to validate the practice or otherwise; just stating the observation). Here are a couple of examples:

The contrast is evident in your quote, where him being "capable of more complex and higher forms" is contrasted with the assertion that "he deliberately chose to address his poetry to the masses".

You ask:

Firstly, what does "address poetry to the masses" mean in this sentence? i.e as a writer in what way is Subbu addressing his poetry to the masses?

The quote doesn't say how Subbu addresses his poetry to the masses; it only asserts that he does. The natural reading of the quote is that Subbu intentionally restrained himself in his poetry so that it would be 'suitable' for "the masses".

Secondly, I don't understand what connection is there between Subbu having the capability of complex writing and him addressing his poems to the masses?

The contrast drawn is between the elite and the masses. The author asserts that Subbu could have written for the elite (i.e. that he had the capability to do so), but chose to retrain himself (for the sake of reaching the masses).

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    I made an edit to the question to add a citation and more context. You may just want to review that information, especially since the additional context I added does seem to say how he addressed the masses. (Also, by the way, since I don't have much else to say and have an excess of characters, I did get your new years greetings. I am sorry to have neglected them, but I really couldn't think of anything to say and kept postponing it until I thought I did. Happy belated new year!) – Tonepoet Feb 10 '18 at 15:51
  • Thanks Tonepoet! Your edit really improved the question, maybe, people might understand the question more properly now :) – Rohit Shekhawat Feb 11 '18 at 7:29
  • Thanks Lawrence! When i said "in what way is Subbu addressing his poetry to the masses" I actually just meant to know the meaning of his action i.e "addressing poetry to the masses". Now, I understood your answers, really lucid explanation by you :) – Rohit Shekhawat Feb 11 '18 at 7:35
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Your two questions are really the same question.

The writer is saying Subbu “addresses” (aims) his work at the general public. In practical terms, perhaps that entails using a simplified vocabulary or clear structure.

But, the writer asserts, that is not because Subbu has to write like that. Subbu could write poems that are more sophisticated or subtle, but chose not to, so that most people could still understand him.

  • Thanks Malvolio again! Yes, you are right, actually the answer to the first question automatically allows me to get the answer of second question as well :) – Rohit Shekhawat Feb 11 '18 at 7:37

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