Introduction to Poetry Analysis Using the literary analysis
Introduction to Poetry Analysis Using the literary analysis toolbox: FORM and STYLE Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) W.H. Auden: Life and Works Born in York, England As a young man, influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, William Blake, and
Emily Dickinson, and Old English verse. Auden was established as a leading voice of a new generation A well-read author, he had a remarkable intellect and drew easily from a variety of literatures, etc. He often mimicked the style of Dickinson, Yeats, and Henry James. His poetry frequently recounts a journey or quest W.H. Auden: Context Visited many countries and served in the Spanish Civil War In 1939 moved to the U.S. where he married his lover, Chester Kallman, and became an American citizen
He was an ardent advocate of Freudian psychoanalysis In his later phase in America, his central preoccupation became Christianity and theory of modern religions Poets.org Funeral Blues Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 5 Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crpe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 15 For nothing now can ever come to any good. --W.H. Auden 10
Funeral Blues Form The poem Funeral Blues is an elegy: a mournful, melancholic poem often spoken at a funeral for the dead Four stanzas, 16 lines The first three stanzas include elements of everyday life, while the last stanza includes elements of the spirit or celestial world, indicating a passing of the spirit from the real world to spirit world. Rhyme scheme: AABB, etc. The rhyme scheme holds the poem together, almost as it holds together the speaker
Speaker and POV Written in first person POV: speaker uses I and my The speaker of the poem has lost a love and is expressing his personal grief Through this elegy, the speaker expresses that he wants others to silence the world that was once a source of happiness He also realizes that things that were once pleasurable can no longer be that way Style TONE The tone of the first two stanzas is direct and forceful; the speaker uses the imperative mode stop all the clocks.
He commands that people pay attention to the deceased; pay respects The tone in the third stanza is nostalgic he was my working week and my Sunday rest as the speaker remembers what it was like when the deceased was alive The tone of the final stanza is forceful: the speaker commands unrealistic tasks to be performed The tone of the final stanza is also melancholic and cynical nothing now can ever come to any good DICTION The word choice in the first stanza includes words related to sounds because the speaker hopes to silence the world clock, telephone, dog barking, muffled drum
The word choice in the second stanza all relate to a public acknowledgement of the deceased aeroplanes circle moaning, message in the sky, public doves, policemen The word choice in the third stanza includes words related to prosaic, mundane events we take for granted working week, Sunday rest, almost as if the speaker took the deceased for granted The word choice in the final stanza includes words related to the spirit and celestial world: sun, moon, stars CONNOTATION Blues music = melancholic and depressing Clocks = time, death approaching; the speaker hopes it will stand still by stopping the clocks
Telephone = communication; lost? Muffled drum = a low sound as a heart Coffin = death or the body of the deceased loved one White doves = release, spirit, peace Black gloves = death North, South, East, West = direction; in what way might the deceased give the speaker direction? He was his world Stars, moon, sun= heaven or spirit world Wood and ocean= the natural world SYNTAX The speaker uses the imperative mode in stanzas 1,2 and 4, commanding the reader and the world to stop and pay respects In stanza three, the speaker uses the indicative mode, expressing
thoughts and reflectingno longer commanding, as if he takes a break to muse The use of listing indicates that the deceased was the speakers everything; all encompassing He is capitalized, just as the word God, suggesting the enormous role, presence played the deceased played in the speakers life Dead is also capitalized, emphasizing the finality of death I thought that my love would last forever: I was wrong o The use of the colon after forever is dramatic and brings our attention to the idea that when we die, love dies IMAGERY
The speaker uses sound imagery in the first stanza: he demands the world be silenced prevent the dog from barking. He also commands the coffin be brought out with muffled drum Almost as if the speaker is on a crowded street and feels overwhelmed that the world does not share his feelings of grief; the world goes on The speaker uses more visual imagery in the second stanza with colors black and white What do you think the imagery used in the last stanza represents? Metaphor He was my North, my South, my East, my West
The deceased was the speakers world, his direction, his everything Scribbling in the sky The sky is a message board for announcing the dead He was myworking week and my Sunday rest Speaker indicates that deceased was all encompassing, showing how impactful the death was on the speaker, affecting everyday life his Hyperbole
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one pack up the moon dismantle the sun pour away the ocean sweep up the wood The exaggeration of unrealistic tasks indicates the depths of the speakers grief; none of the irrational actions can be fulfilled, just like life is no longer fulfilling for the speaker Synecdoche Using parts to represent a whole Ex: all hands on deck = all people sweep up the wood
wood= the whole forest When the speaker implies that the whole forest should be cleared, it is irrational and impossible, again indicating the level of the speakers grief. Theme Love doesnt endure, so nothing else can either The speaker indicates that since the love is lost, so is the world I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong Nothing now can come to any good REVIEW
4. The mournful nature of the occasion is aurally reinforced by the: a. ticking of the clocks b. ringing of the telephone c. baying of the dog d. music from a piano e. droning of the aeroplanes 5. The third stanza differs MOST from the other stanzas in a. subject b. tone c. perspective d. rhyme e. figurative language
6. Of the following, which BEST describes the nature of the contrast between the first the fourth stanzas? a. activity and inertia b. sound to light c. temporal to cosmic d. mourning to celebration e. secular to spiritual 7. The word which best describes the speakers feelings for his now-dead friend would be a. platonic b. collegial c. fraternal d. distant
e. reverential 8. All of the following are used as metaphors in the poem EXCEPT: a. a musical instrument b. a pad or billboard c. a compass d. a time of day e. a candle EXAMPLE 2 Poetry Explication Project Honors English Seamus Heaney (SHAY-muhs
HEE-nee ) April 1939- present Seamus Heaney: Life Father owned and worked on a farm in Northern Irelandrural lifestyle is where much of his poetry is grounded
Raised Catholic Parents died an early death Claims to have an inner tension inherited from his parents between speech and silence His father was notably sparing of talk, his mother notably garrulous Won Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1995 and taught at Harvard
Translated the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf (2000) http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1995/heaney-bio.html Seamus Heaney: Historical Context Witnessed American soldiers prep for Normandy invasion of 1944 Subject matter includes that of modern Northern Ireland, its farms and cities beset with civil strife, its natural culture and language overrun by English rule. Used his work to reflect upon violent political struggles
that plagued Ireland http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/seamus-heaney Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney Late August, given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots
where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills we trekked and picked until the cans were full, until the tinkling bottom had been covered with green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's. We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache. The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush the fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour. I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not. 5 10 15 20 Blackberry-Picking Form Form represents the retelling of a poignant memoryTone shifts from stanza 1 to stanza 2 Fresh blackberries in the first stanza
Indicate youth, innocence, hope, inexperience, sexuality with coming-of-age Rotten blackberries in the second stanza Indicate disappointment, reality, old age, knowledge AABBCCDDEEFF rhyme scheme Blackberry-Picking POV/Speaker Speaker uses first person POV, indicated he/she was a participant in the picking We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre Speaker also uses second person with you, making the reader feel as if he or
she is along for the picking. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet The speaker is a man looking back on the vivid days of his youth spent in the countryside. The first few lines use verb tense indicating the past and that a memory will be shared Late August, given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the blackberries would ripen. The last line indicates that the speaker is looking back on the past and reflecting Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.
Blackberry-Picking Style TONE: tone shifts from innocent, nostalgic, and youthful in the first stanza to melancholic and disappointed in the second stanza as the blackberries rot to the speakers dismay DICTION: lust, blood, thorns, wine, flesh, tongue, glutting, hoarding related to Biblical/Christian language and reminds reader of Adam and Eve, Christs sacrifice, tradition, and the seven deadly sins all associated with blackberry picking Colors: purple, green, red indicate youth; grey in second stanza indicates old age SYNTAX: list of milk cans, pea tins, and jam pots; hayfields, cornfields, potato drills indicate plenty and create a rhythm CONNOTATION: words have both a Biblical and sexual connotation with words like lust and flesh IMAGERY: childhood memory is extremely vivid, using all five senses, with description of
smells stinking; sights rat-grey fungus; touch briars scratched; taste flesh was sweet so poignant that its almost as if the act is being performed in front of the reader Blackberry Picking Device 1 Simile/Allusion Our hands were peppered with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
Bluebeard is a French literary folk tale about a wealthy aristocrat with a blue beard who has been killing his wives and hiding their bodies in a locked room Indicates the boys are guilty, like Bluebeard, but not him, thus the simile instead of metaphor Hands sticky, like drying blood Bluebeard hoarded his wives as the children hoarded the blackberries Blackberry Picking Device 2 Alliteration Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. big dark blobs burned
Repetition of the b consonant sound and other consonant sounds used many times Alliteration brings the readers attention to a certain part of the text The connotation of the b sound is playful and abrupt The words briars and bleached, and burned indicate permanence Blackberry Picking Device 3 Simile
You at that first one and its flesh was sweet like thickened wine: summers blood was in it leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for picking This simile indicates that the blackberry has blood, and the picking leaves stains upon the child, creating a memory, just as a tattoo might leave a mark on the skin. Blackberry Picking Themes Lust/Desire Speaker longs for blackberries to stay fresh and young but is disappointed Lust for pickingwe hoarded the fresh berries
Childhood vs. Adulthood Speaker is nostalgic about the past but now realizes his past navet A loss of innocence, moment of realization and disgust with realitylike a child who just found out that Santa isnt real Holding onto the Past Speakers desire to keep the berries fresh is a metaphor for an attempt to freeze time; natures beauty doesnt always endure the test of time Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not. Test Questions
Five test questions, which will be included on a final poetry test over all poems presented by classmates Questions may be multiple choice, T/F, or short answer
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