Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Hickory, Dickory, Dock

By Mother Goose

Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock;
The clock struck one,
And down he run,
Hickory, dickory, dock.

Summary of Hickory, Dickory, Dock

  • Popularity of “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”: Published in the 16th century, “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” is the most recognizable nursery rhyme. Written by Mother Goose, a famous French imaginary writer, the poem revolves around a mouse who tries to reach the top of a tall clock but fails. Its popularity, however, lies in the fact that even after years of its publication, it is still a compulsory part of the curriculum in many educational institutions across the globe.
  • “Hickory, Dickory, Dock,” As a Representative of Struggle: This is a lyrical poem. It begins with the description of a tall clock and a mouse who tries to run up to the top. Unfortunately, as soon as he approaches the top, the clock strikes one, and he runs out of fear. The poem is also said to have underlying meanings. It is believed that the shepherd in West Moorland used to read dialect numbers, including Havera, Devera, and Dick, which later became Hickory, Dickory, and dock. Also, there is a Scottish link. It is said that Sir Walter Scott used to entertain a young child, Marjorie Flaming, to read his lesson, which happened to be, ziccoty, diccoty, dock. Moreover, other written accounts of the poem from the 19th century suggest that the children used an expression like hickory, dickory, dock to decide who would initiate the game. However, the idea of putting the mouse in verse is still a mystery.
  • Major Themes in “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”: Struggle, effort, and fear are the major themes of the poem. Although this simple poem seems nonsensical, it carries a layer of meaning. The climbing of the mouse shows his sheer determination. The mouse tries to achieve his goal, keeping his fears aside. His futile attempt symbolizes the hurdles and troubles that come our way when we attempt to chase our big dreams. Through this short and simple poem, the poet urges his readers to keep following their dreams and try to achieve the best in life, setting aside all their fears.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Hickory, Dickory, Dock

literary devices are modes that represent the writer’s ideas, feelings, and emotions. It is through these devices the writers make their few words appealing to the readers. Mother Goose used some literary devices in this poem to make it appealing. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem is listed below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “The mouse ran up the clock” and the sound of /o/ in “Hickory, dickory, dock.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession, such as the sound of /d/ in “dickory, dock.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /t/ in “The mouse ran up the clock;” and the sound of /d/ in “Hickory, dickory, dock.”
  4. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning. The poem shows the irony of fate. The mouse tries to run up the clock but he fails as he runs down when the clock strikes one.
  5. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Mother Goose has used imagery in this poem, such as; “The mouse ran up the clock;”, “The clock struck one” and “And down he run.”
  6. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects different in nature. The poet used escape as an extended metaphor in the poem to show how even animals use their survival instincts once they confront danger.
  7. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols such as escape, danger, determination, struggle, and failure.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Hickory, Dickory, Dock

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows a descriptive, simple, and poetic diction.
  2. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. Mother Goose used end rhyme in this poem, such as; “dock/clock” and “one/run.”
  3. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the AABBC rhyme scheme.
  4. Repetition: There is a repetition of the verse “Hickory, dickory, dock,” which has created a musical quality in the poem.
  5. Refrain: The lines that are repeated at some distance in the poems are called a refrain. The verse, “Hickory, dickory, dock,” repeatedly occurs to show it as a refrain.
  6. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There is only one stanza in this poem comprising five verses.
  7. Tone: It is the voice of the text. The poem shows an entertaining and thrilling tone.

Quotes to be Used

The following lines are useful to quote when praising somebody for making a struggle to achieve things in life.

“Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock;
The clock struck one,
And down he run,
Hickory, dickory, dock.”

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