Poem Analysis: I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud Essay
In his poem, I wondered lonely as a cloud, William Wordsworth applies different elements of poetry to highlight his themes. For instance, he uses symbolism to connect human beings with their immediate environment (nature). A symbol is an object either living or non-living that represents something else in reality; therefore, the reader has to think carefully to unravel the hidden meaning. Wordsworth use of symbolism in his poem reveals his observatory skills and his ability to appreciate the nature around him.
The title and the first stanza of the poem highlight the first symbol in the poem. The persona likens himself with a cloud yet naturally, the cloud is a non-living object located many miles away from the earth.
The cloud is a symbol, which represents loneliness. Moreover, the cloud is naturally incompatible with the earth surface or human beings but the poet’s close identification with the cloud reveals his loneliness, isolation, and desolation from the world around him. In the second stanza, he compares the distance between the clouds, valleys, and hills, which means he is aware but not happy with his separation from the immediate world.
Through the personification of the clouds, the speaker is able to express the extent or impact of his loneliness. Besides being under emotional turmoil, he has nobody to talk to, associate with, or assist him in solving his personal problems, which hurls him into depressed. Just like the clouds, he finds remedy in roaming around, with a sole aim of trying the luck of stumbling upon something to fill up his loneliness.
In the fourth line of the first stanza, the persona identifies the daffodils at the lake, which symbolize love/happiness. He calls the daffodils a ‘crowd’, which is a word only used to identify human beings (Cummings Para. 3).
The dancing prowess of the daffodils especially the movement of their heads symbolizes the happiness the persona is yearning to experience one day. Although he is lonely and sad, the observation of the flowers puts a smile on his face. Thus, the daffodils (flowers) are a symbol or source of happiness, which is the heart’s desire of the persona. In addition, the speaker observes that the daffodils dance better than the waves, which confirms that when he is happy, he is automatically connected to the world.
The high number of daffodils the speaker observes grows naturally and they symbolize the rich environment or soils he lives in; therefore, probably the source of his unhappiness is not economical but maybe social oriented. Additionally, when the speaker is unhappy he only remembers the daffodils to alter his somber mood, the daffodils offer him company; they cheer him up.
The use of natural objects like the stars, plants (flower), the cloud, valley, hills, lakes, and the breeze/waves symbolizes that the nature is the only source of inspiration in the speaker’s life. He derives his emotional nourishment from remembering the beauty and dancing of the flowers.
He connects the random arrangement of the flowers to the stars, which cheers him. Wordsworth also proves the realistic side of his work when he uses the natural rather synthetic objects. Moreover, his use of nature may have a hidden meaning whereby he might be calling for the emotional or spiritual malnourished persons to preserve and adapt the nature as the source of happiness in their lives. Therefore, through the connection to the nature, the speaker symbolizes the unity that exists between human beings with the nature.
Due to the power of the nature, the speaker strengthens the need of living in a community. When he describes the daffodils, he associates the flowers with a crowd flourishing in their natural habitat. Thus, the word ‘crowd’ here symbolizes the unity people have to explore in the world in that, the crowd of daffodils takes away his loneliness.
For instance in the second stanza he says, “Ten thousands saw I at glance/” (Wordsworth line 11), which reveals the large number of the daffodils. Similarly, due to their large number, the flowers not only dance well, but also shine. In addition, he also calls the flowers a ‘host’, which means despite being large in number they make him happy.
Therefore, Wordsworth poem aims at calling for peace, love, unity, and togetherness in his community because he associates words in collective form with his own happiness. The flower, as a symbol, represents the people in his community who are not only supposed to live together, but also to stay happily or in harmony with each other.
In summary, symbolism is an element of writing especially in poetry. Symbols have hidden meanings, which need the reader to unravel intelligently. Wordsworth uses natural objects to express the theme of nature. He uses the natural objects like flowers to both inspire him and promote unity in the society.
The distance between the clouds and the earth is large yet the persona identifies with the cloud, therefore his identification symbolizes the retraction or loneliness between him and the surrounding people. Finally, the author uses symbols to promote peace and togetherness in his society.
Cummings, Michael. I wandered lonely as a cloud: A study guide, 2008. Web. <https://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides3/IWandered.html>
Wordsworth, Williams. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” Poemhunter, 2002. Web. <https://www.poemhunter.com/poems/>
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe Poetry Essay
The haunted palace by Edgar Allan Poe is a piece of literature that tells of a story in a number of short regular stanzas using a traditional style.
The Haunted Palace, tries to bring out a symbolic reference to human sanity, an allegory about the human mind. Poe tries to give a descriptive view to show how one can slowly begin to have ones own human sanity decaying away as he alludes to the decaying state of the palace.
One may compare the poem contents to the life experience of the writer. In his bibliography, after his father abandons his family and his mother dies, Edgar is raised in a wealthy family, but later falls out of the relationship he had with his guardian. He is seen as an intelligent man sometimes back “banners yellow, glorious, golden” (Poe 10) these are words that the poet uses to describe his perception about himself there before . As the poem goes on the sparkling glamorous experiences taking place in
“Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago,)”
During old times, but towards the end of the poem the tone and experiences change. The interpretation of the poem, The Haunted Palace, can be used to depict Poe’s unstable state of mind as depression crippled his life. In the second last stanza he writes
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
let us mourn–for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!” These few lines basically depict the literary depression state of Poe’s mind which can be traced to a series of events and there is no hope of ever reviving his happy moments tomorrow.
Poe combines several styles to complete the poem. The main style used is imagery; he uses it to explain the figurative statements of certain aspects. The head is alluded to the palace, while all the evil spirits mentioned represent the thoughts of a human beings mind.
In the poem the poet writes “two luminous windows saw Spirits moving musically” in this statement its descriptive aspect does not really make sense for a palace to have only two windows it’s vividly representing the eyes of a human being. The sanity of a man is represented by spirits being able to move musically hence freely meaning he was then a sane man and in control of his life until evil spirits invaded the palace (head) and his mind become unstable.
He offers the allegory of the last stages of his sanity mind states as he slowly begins to become insane, he describes a wild insane laughter coming out of the door which depicts the mouth. The laughter described here can not be referenced from any kind of happiness but rather to a disturbing thought for he knows his condition is fast deteriorating and he was not going to be the same man as before
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more. Edgar also incorporates the use figurative speech where personification is a device that Poe uses in line four states “radiant palace-reared its head” meaning that the palace has much greater meaning.
The palace is given the human trait of the head which is the centre of human beings faculties of intellect, emotion and reasoning. More personification expressions include “a troop of echoes whose sweet duty was but to sing” the echoes describe the thoughts. These thoughts are organized and pleasant showing an individual is sane.
There are several ways one would interpret the writers work because of the several hidden aspects about the poem. The poem can also be depicting more than the sanity state of a human being to death.
In the beginning of the poem the descriptive phenomenon brings out the party feeling of a palace where evidently people are dancing and singing all of them having a wonderful time together with the king and his monarchy an illusion of some kind of a disease will not be able to get them is presently described because the palace is defined as the most safest haven until the evil spirits are able to invade the palace and soon every one dies the insane laughter can be used to represents the kings unaware of what to do he laughs perhaps because he aware that he is defeated by what he thought could not get him.
Metaphors have widely been used in the poem to hide the direct meaning of the words used. In an example, the author writes “And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door,” the pearl describes the teeth since pearl are white while the ruby represents the lips with is red nature that appears to be the same with the ruby and finally the door represents the mouth.. He also writes;
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing, In voices of surpassing beauty”, these words explain that there are beautiful thoughts representing a person in a sane mind state while “The wit and wisdom of their king” describes the fact that as the king made decisions he was in his right sense of mind and that he was cautious of what he was doing. Besides metaphors, the writer also used similes to make the poem interesting to the readers “While, like a ghastly rapid river./ Through the pale door / A hideous throng rush out forever”.
All these elements have been put together in the poem to bring out an effective idyllic atmosphere that represents how a sane mind can instantly become an unstable mind. The use of his words in the poem create the atmosphere described as nightmarish and evil words used to describe this feeling include “evil dim-remembered, desolate, robes of sorrow, entombed, ghastly discordant, mourn and hideous. Further interpretation of the poem involves a line by line interpretation. As
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,- good thoughts
Once a fair and stately palace— a stable state mind(head)
Radiant palace—reared its head.- head
In the monarch Thought’s dominion— stable reasoning with common sense
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!” – Hair on the head. These lines describe the wonderful and most pleasant experience when a person has a stable mind set (head),
“Banners yellow, glorious, golden, – hair
On its roof did float and flow, – on top of the head
(This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago,) here the poet describes his perception about himself there before.
“ And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, (15) describes the sparkling glamorous experiences of the author in the olden days
“A wingèd odor went away.” The odor is the smell that comes out of a human beings mouth “Wanderers in that happy valley,” are the people who are constantly seeing the king “Through two luminous windows” alludes to the eyes of the king, “saw spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tunèd law, (20)” represents the sanity of a man
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well befitting, – stable mind
The ruler of the realm was seen. – the king
And all with pearl and ruby glowing – pearl describes the teeth while the ruby represents the lips
Was the fair palace door,” the mouth (25)
“Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore, -sounds and organized thoughts
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty;
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty;
The wit and wisdom of their king” (30) these words explain that there are beautiful thoughts representing a person in a sane mind state.
“But evil things, in robes of sorrow, – destructive components causing disruption in the mind
Assailed the monarch’s high estate- The thoughts in the head
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow (35)
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory;
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story;
Of the old time entombed (40), represents the unstable state of a human’s mind as depression crippled his life by undeserving thoughts
And travellers, now, within that valley; – people around the person
Through the red-litten windows see – blood shot eyes
Vast forms, that move fantastically;
To a discordant melody; While, like a ghastly rapid rive;
Through the pale door – mouth
A hideous throng rush out forever;
And laugh—but smile no more (Poe 45). Offers the allegory of the last stages of his sanity mind states as he slowly begins to become insane
Poe, Allan E. The Haunted Palace. Nottingham: Nathan Brooks’ American Museum magazine, 1938. Print.
Literary Devices In Robert Frost’s Poetry [Essay]
Robert Frost is one of the most celebrated American poets of the early 20th century. The themes of his works address the life and nature of New England. His works are powerful and memorable due to the skillful use of various literary devices. This essay shall explore literary devices Robert Frost uses in his poetry..
In four poems under consideration, “The Road Not Taken,” “Fire and Ice,” “The Lockless Door,” and “After Apple-Picking,” the author makes use of four literary devices, such as form, symbolism, imagery, and allusions. These devices help the author focusing on particular themes and ideas addressed in the texts of the poems.
Literary Elements in “The Road Not Taken”
The first poem under consideration is “The Road Not Taken,” published in 1916. It is one of the most famous and analyzed works by the author. The leading theme of the poem is the non-conformist ideas of the author, the problem of life choice, and the dilemma in making the right decision. Thus, to present his views, Frost makes use of several stylistic devices, such as hyperbole, consonance, alliteration, antithesis, metaphors, images, and allusions. Moreover, the author uses figurative language in order to enrich the meaning of his poem. One of the most significant elements is the form in which the poem is organized.
Thus, the poem has four stanzas, and each stanza has five lines (quintains). The rhyme scheme of the poem is the following one: ABAAB. For example, as in the first stanza:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, (A)
And sorry I could not travel both (B)
And be one traveler, long I stood (A)
And looked down one as far as I could (A)
To where it bent in the undergrowth; (B)” (Frost lines 1-4).
The basic rhyme of the poem is iambic, however, with some brakes.
The form of the poem is quite complicated but very strict. The author makes use of such a structure to emphasize the content of the poem. We can conclude that form is dependent upon form and vice versa. The form of the work (rhythm and rhyme) “departs from the established norm.” The same thing happens to the main protagonist who hesitates and cannot make up the right decision and choose one “road.”
Poetic Techniques in “After Apple-Picking”
“After Apple-Picking” by Robert Frost is an excellent example of the author’s use of allusions. In this poem, Frost examines the perspective and its effect or religion and how the situation can influence one’s attitude towards this situation. To explore this question, the author makes use of allusions. Thus, the allusions are often met in the text, and they frame the main idea and make it easy to understand.
The first allusion in the text is the allusion to religion, “My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree/ towards heaven still” (Frost 1). The author addresses the Heaven to relate the rest of the poem to the area of religious beliefs. Such use of allusion helps the author to frame the whole text of the poem and make it more effective. The second allusion is an allusion to negative situations that people can meet in their lives and individual responses to these situations.
Having described several scenes of the apple gathering, the author claims, “But I am done with apple-picking now. / Essence of winter sleep is on the night” (Frost 6-7). Winter in the text is a synonym of problems, and probably death, and show how these problems can lead people to situations when they question their future and their faith.
In the text, the protagonist is giving up, but there are also other solutions to the problems, everything depends on the personal perspective. Further in the poem, the author explores the change of perspectives, “…looking through a pane of glass / I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough / And held against the world of hoary grass.” (Frost 10-12).
The author alludes to personal perspectives, claiming that the outcomes of the situation depend on how people look and interpret them. Finally, in the closing lines, the author alludes to death, “Long sleep…coming on” (Frost 41), describing it as an inevitable outcome on everyone’s life. Thus, in “After Apple-Picking,” literary devices, mostly allusions, express the main idea of the poem.
Symbolism in “Fire and Ice”
Another literary device that Frost widely uses in his poems is symbolism. “Fire and Ice” is a prominent example of this usage. The reader can notice two main symbols in the text of the poem, “fire” and “ice.” In a few lines, the author manages to show a crucial meaning of his poetry to a reader. He makes this through the usage of literary devices. Thus, the main idea explored by the author is possible “end of the world.”
Thus, Frost sees two endings, “Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice” (Frost 1-2). “Fire” is a symbol of war and destruction, some nuclear explosion or death from the sun radioactive emission,” as opposed to this, “ice” is a symbol of cooling of the planet, ice age, etc.
The author also explores human deeds, such as “desire” and “hate.” Fire is associated with desire, which is regarded as a sin, “hate” is “ice” and also provides a perspective on human’s sins. Thus, fire and ice are also symbols of human’s bad behavior and how it can influence society and nature. The author claims that “the end of the world” is a result of human activity, their attitude towards each other, and the better world.
Robert Frost’s Poetic Devices in “The Lockless Door”
“The Lockless Door” by Robert Frost is filled with imagery, which has significant meaning. Almost every line of the text presents an example of it. In the poem, the author uses this device to convey his emotions. Thus, he describes the situation when people are afraid of uncertainty, which prevents them from making decisions and living a full life.
For example, Frost describes how he is afraid of “whatever the knock” (Frost 15) and shows his behavior, “But the knock came again. / My window was wide; / I climbed on the sill / And descended outside” (Frost 9-12). The author expresses the hope that he is able to rescue from the changes and return his usual lifestyle. However, the author also provides the idea that our lives can be easier and safer if we face our problems, we can start all over again.
Thus, we can conclude that literary devices that Robert Frost used in his poetry helped the author to express his ideas and provide the reader with an in-depth understanding of the themes of his poems. Metaphors, allusions, symbols, imaginary, and other literary devices are often met in his works.
The poems discussed earlier in this paper are great examples of how the author uses allusions, symbolism, imagery, and form to attract the reader’s attention to the problems discussed in the poems and make his works more expressive and understandable to a broader audience of readers.
Frost, Robert. “After Apple Picking”. The Literature Network. Web.
– – -. “The Lockless Door”. Poetry Archive. Web.
– – -. “Fire and Ice”. The Literature Network. Web.
– – -.”The Road Not Taken”. The Road Not Taken, Birches, and Other Poems. Ed. Robert Frost. San Diego: Coyote Canyon Press, 2010.
Anne Bradstreet’s Poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” Essay
“I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense” (Lauter 194).
Literature is a discipline that has been used for centuries as a way of expressing people’s feelings as well as an avenue for passing across messages about important issues. Artists use their pieces of writing to communicate to the general and bring about change concerning various issues that affect the society.
This passage is by Anne Bradstreet. For everyone in their life deals with love and emotions and can understand how love can hurt and how it can heal. Though the readers do not know who the two people in the poem by Bradstreet are, it is clear that they have some feelings to each other. The author devotes the poem to her husband whom she loves showing this feeling to all people.
Pure love is depicted in the poem by Bradstreet. The passage from this poem reveals a part of the story of the author’s love to her husband whom she loves deeply and sincerely. The author is full of desire to devote herself to her husband believing that the whole world can stop if she loses him or move again if she finds him again with the help of her love.
It seems that the love between these two people has a one-way direction because the author says nothing about the love of her husband to her though the love is a compass that leads her in the darkness and lights up everything around.
The author claims that her feeling is very strong and she would never want to exchange it for any other goodness on the earth. Love described by Bradstreet is something eternal, which exists around people and in exceptional moments, people are given a chance to experience love or to take a piece of it and enjoy it for the rest of their lives; the strength of the feeling is such “that Rivers cannot quench” (Lauter 194) .
The author was a Puritan following the rules and customs of this religion; she had eight children and wrote poems while her husband was building his career. In this case, the readers can see how a woman’s role in society could influence her inspiration and application of powers and talents.
Moreover, Bradstreet was an educated woman for that time even compared to most men who made her a genuine exemplar for other women with the same enthusiasm and energy as Bradstreet when they did nothing but suffered from the unrevealed and unrealized potential of their mind and soul.
Bradstreet found the way to demonstrate her emotions, which was not exactly positive in that period though she received positive acclaims of her poems becoming the first poet published in America and the first female poet published in the New and the Old World (Lauter 187).
The poem demonstrates emotions and feelings of a Puritan woman toward her husband though this is not a story people got used to see or hear. At the same time, she is talking about the gold and riches (Bradstreet, 194) meaning that no treasures of the world can be compared to the happiness of loving and being loved. The symbols of richness can also be found in another poem written by Bradstreet, “The Flesh and the Spirit” (191-193) where the author compares the richness of the earthly life to the love of God.
However, the poem about the author’s love to her husband can be contrasted to the “The Flesh and the Spirit” where human existence is contrasted to the love of God. Love in terms of human nature and feelings will always compete with the love to God and ability of people to forget all the earthly joys and enjoy the will of God. Bradstreet contrasts the earthly life full of riches to the spiritual happiness in the kingdom of God where people can live in accordance with His rules:
Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold
Than eyes can see or hands can hold (191)
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat (192)
As such, the “word of life” (192) is more important for a religious woman than all joys of family life despite her love to her husband which “rivers cannot quench” (194).
Contradictions may appear when comparing the poem about God and religion to the one about love and true human emotions. The contribution of Bradstreet is great in terms of the poetry and topics disclosed with the help of exact wording and various stylistic devices.
Though emotions can be experienced as well as a picture can be seen or music listened, a poem can reflect all those concepts using the power of words. As such, the expressive means and accurate choice of words enabled the author to reveal her emotions in terms of the feelings toward her husband without trying to contrast it to the obedience to God and religious moral.
Overall, it is possible to compare this poem by Bradstreet with the works of other religious writers such as Taylor and Edwards. Their concept of love for God is based on devotion and the belief in the perfect nature of the Supreme Being. Moreover, it is premised on the idea that God can give a person something more important than material values. Similarly, Anne Bradstreet rejects “mines of gold” and “all the riches” for her beloved.
The reader does not know whether she believes him to be perfect or ideal, but she is fully devoted to him. She does not ask him anything but love and this unselfishness distinguishes her from religious writers and theologians. Thus, Anne Bradstreet’s concept of love can be even more poignant than that one of Edwards and Taylor.
Though the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” written by Bradstreet in the seventeenth century can be related to her other works, it is not actually relevant to all other works of the course because they have different frameworks in spite of being written in the same period of traveling, changes, lack of rights for women, and a number of other concepts that characterize this era.
Most literary works of the course let the readers into the history of Americas and the perception of this new world by travelers with regard to missing home and family, having difficulties related to food, language of indigenous people, and dangers.
However, the poem is related to all other works in terms of spirit that is typical of all people of that era being the driving force and the main strength that dragged people to the unknown countries and dangerous places. As such, the poem by Anne Bradstreet gives the readers a great insight of her feelings that can overcome any difficulty because she is a strong educated woman of the era when people could walk miles to find a better fortune.
To conclude, the poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” written by Bradstreet is a great contribution to the American literature being a model of feelings a wife should have to her husband and a model of poetic verse a poet should use when writing about true human feelings and emotions.
The era, when the poem was written, makes us hesitate about the sincerity of the author’s feelings because most works of literature focused on expeditions and religious studies; however, sophisticated and well-selected wording and style make the poem a profound work a woman could ever write.
Bradstreet, Anne. “The Flesh and the Spirit.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Stamford, CT: Cengage/Wadsworth Publishing, 2009. 191-193. Print.
Bradstreet, Anne. “To My Dear and Loving Husband.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition. Ed. Paul Lauter. Stamford, CT: Cengage/Wadsworth Publishing, 2009. 194. Print.
Theme of the Poem Harlem Essay (Book Review)
Langston Hughes is considered a very prominent author during the Harlem Renaissance and his works guided the African Americans from a state of hopelessness to having hope concerning their ultimate liberation from oppression.
At the start of the Civil Rights Movement, in 1951, he authored a poem called “Harlem” depicting the theme of frustration, particularly what happens to dreams when they are put on hold. This is explicitly stated in the first line of the poem, “What happens to a dream deferred?” (Shmoop University, 7). He then effectively stirs up the idea of a “dream getting deferred” in his reaction in the poem.
The title of the poem, “Harlem,” which is the center of activities of the African Americans in the U.S., seems to suggest that the writer intended to invoke a particular image of a particular group of people whose dreams are often deferred.
“The dream” is a something that the writer of the poem had in mind for the African Americans, especially during the Civil Rights Era when frustration characterized the mood of the African Americans. Hughes wanted the African Americans to succeed in their pursuit for complete liberation. He sought after their rise in power above the white people; thus, he did not mince his words in making his opinion, especially because he was regarded to be the poet laureate of the African Americans in all places.
The United States was widely regarded to be the land of opportunity where no dreams could get deferred; however, the sentiment of the African Americans during this period was not expressing this (Meyer). After the Civil war in the eighteenth century, the African Americans were set free from slavery other oppressive practices. In addition, various federal laws had given them the opportunity to vote, own property, and enjoy other rights in the United States.
Nonetheless, ongoing discrimination against the African Americans, together with the regulations enacted since the Civil War, resulted in their hopelessness and dreams being deferred. Consequently, the African Americans were regarded as second-class citizens, for example, they had to attend inadequately equipped institutions of learning, opt for menial jobs, use different public facilities from the whites, and had restricted access to other facilities and areas.
By the 1950s, the African American’s frustration with inferior status in the American society was intolerable and Hughes comprehended well what the future held for them. He indicates this in the last line of the poem, “Or does it explode?” ((Shmoop University, 7), which alludes to the fact that they can only be held down for sometime before they revolt or “explode” to force their liberation.
Besides depicting the frustration of the African Americans in the mid-twentieth century, the poem also strikes a universal chord since many people throughout the ages have had their dreams postponed, which have made them to feel frustrated. Some individuals do nothing and allow their aspirations to “dry up” while others allow their dreams to “fester like a sore,”; that is, aggravate them for a lifetime because they have not been accomplished (Koyesha, para.2).
The sixth line, “Does it stink like rotten meat?”, also invokes the aggravation obtained from deferred dreams. Nonetheless, amidst this frustration, some people still cling on their aspirations, “Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet?”, hopping for their accomplishment.
Koyesha, Hamilton. “Analysis’ of Four Poems by Hughes, Dunn, Olds, and Haskins.” Karenrager.tripod.com. Karenzo Media, 2002. Web.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Compact Introduction to Literature, 7th ed. New York: Bedford / St. Martin’s Press, 2006. Print.
Shmoop University. Langston Hughes: Shmoop Biography. Sunnyvale, CA: Shmoop University Press, 2010. Print.
Travelling Through the Dark by William Stafford Critical Essay
Living in a modern world people often have to face with several moral and ethical dilemmas that disclose their readiness to act. Each person, sooner or later, will have to make an important choice and take responsibility for a crucial decision. The problem is that the choices and decisions we make do not only affect our moral ideals, but also the world surrounding us.
Concerning this, William Stafford’s poem called Travelling through the Dark metaphorical discloses the importance of taking actions rather than observing, which is especially vital in unexpected situations. Otherwise, ignorance and failure to make an immediate decision can be fraught with severe consequences and, therefore, acting correctly and following moral and ethical implications is a duty of each in the world.
The poem is a metaphorical disclosure of the necessity to take immediate actions rather than observe. Hence, the poet discloses a person’s attitude to the essence of morale and its importance while making tough choices (Mendelson and Bryfonski 461). Though the plot is quite simple for understanding, it enables readers to conceive how a person acts and behaves while encountering challenging situations as well as what the speaker feels while depriving deer of life.
Hence, when the stops the car to check what was wrong, he realizes that the situation was far more complicated than he expected. Although he first thinks that “it is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow,” but his further reflections prove that he is not indifferent to what happened (Stafford 936, line 3).
The speaker did not neglect the tragedy and thought over the way to act correctly in this situation and find the morally justified solution. In particular, he tries to explain his decision to put the deer aside the road as this can save more lives: “that road is narrow, to swerve might make more dead” (Stafford 936 line 4). However, he immediately withdrew this idea and started thinking of more ethically right alternatives.
Making a choice is always a real challenge for the speaker leading him to the analysis of the meaning of darkness, which is often associated with uncertainty, ambiguity, and the unknown.
Perhaps, this metaphorical representation of future and life creates even more hesitations and doubts toward the rightfulness of all human actions in terms of morale and ethics (Mendelson and Bryfonski 462) Hence, when the speaker finds a dead deer, the first thought that occurs to his mind is “to roll them into the canyon” (Stafford 936 line 3). At the same moment, the hesitation comes to rescue the situation forth.
The state of ambiguity is also recognized by the speaker who also provides the readers with a sign moral consideration: “Beside the mountain road I hesitated” (Stafford 936 line 12).
This hesitation also reveals the idea that a person is ready to provide help and act morally. In the poem, the speaker is in the front of an important decision that the audience expects from him to do: “around our group, I could hear the wilderness listen” (Stafford 936 line 16). However, he realizes that swerving is risky because a car might fall into the canyon causing more human deaths.
In the poem, Stafford does not only reflect on moral dilemmas and significance of human resolute actions and participation but on a person’s moral duty to preserve life. Therefore, people often tend to take steps instead to observe, specifically when it is a matter of life and death.
When the speaker decides to interfere, he expresses his readiness and moral duty to help: “By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car and stood by the heap, a doe, recent killing; She had stiffened already, almost cold. I dragged her off; she was large in the belly” (Stafford 936 lines 4-8). Here, the speaker is bold enough to get out of his car and pull the dead deer aside. Also, the author’s realization of the importance of life is followed by guilty consciousness that is concealed in his attempt to check whether the deer is alive.
The speaker realizes that the dear is about to deliver a fawn, but he realizes that he can do nothing but make a difficult choice: “her fawn lay there waiting alive, still, never to be born” (Stafford 936, lines 10-11). Hence, the very thinking of the possibility to save a life serves the speaker as an excuse for his refusal to help. Despite his difficult choice, the speaker still realizes the sacredness of life.
After a thorough analysis of the poem, it is possible to deeper understand the role of human deeds as well as their readiness to participate rather than to observe. The topic presented in the poem contributes significantly to realizing the essence of human life as well as the way it is affected both by nature and civilized world.
More importantly, it also reveals the situations immediate decisions and actions are signifiers of morally justified choice. In the poem, the speaker did not ignore the situation and decided to act immediately under moral and ethical decisions.
Mendelson, Ed. Phyllis Carmel, and Dedria Bryfonski. William Stafford (1914-).
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit: Gale Research, 1977.
Stafford, William. Traveling Through the Dark. In Literature, Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. UK: Longman, 2006.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Essay
This is a novel by Thomas Hardy, whose setting is in the 19th century. Hardy tells the story of a young woman Tess Durbeyfield and uses her character to bring out main themes. Tess is from a poor family background, the Durbeyfields. Her parents after realizing that they are descendants of a royal family blood, the D’urbervilles, decide to send her there to acquire fortune. She meets Alec, the D’Urbevilles’ son, who gives her a job.
One day Alec takes advantage of her in the woods. She becomes pregnant; goes back home and give birth to a baby who soon dies. She then finds work as a milkmaid. Tess meets Angel who later proposes to her, and they get married. After discovering her past, Angel does not forgive Tess, making him to leave her for Brazil. When he finally comes back for her, she is living with Alec. Tess then kills Alec and run into hiding with Angel. The law catches up with her. The story ends by her execution.
Hardy’s development of Tess’ identity
In his bid to highlight the main themes in this novel, Thomas Hardy brings out the identity of Tess. There is an emphasis on the economic status of Tess from beginning of the story. Hardy informs us that Tess is from a poor family background (Hardy & Basset, 2008). We learn that she is obedient when she follows her parents’ instructions to go find fortune from her supposed relatives, the D’Urbevilles.
When she losses, the only source of income to the family, Tess takes up a job at the D’Urbevilles family estate so that she can take care of her family. This shows that she is responsible and caring. As a milkmaid, she identifies with her workmates and befriends them. This identity comes naturally because they share something, which is poverty.
Hardy uses situations revolving around gender to show the role of women in the 19th century. From the novel, men are dominant over women and have power over them. This dominance over women slowly shapes out the identity of Tess throughout this story (Silverman, 2002). Alec admits that his intention of sleeping with Tess was for momentary pleasure. Tess, on the other hand, does not have feelings for her at the time.
This situation brings out Tess’ character of being vulnerable. Alec takes advantage of this vulnerability and ends up making her pregnant. This happens again towards the end of the story as Alec lies to her that Angel will never come back for. She obliges and ends up living with him. Male dominance continues to the end of the story when male police officers arrest her even though she did not mean to kill Alec (Schmoop, 2007).
Thomas hardy clearly defines the boundary between different social classes within the novel. He informs us that people with royal blood are automatically wealthy. Tess was sent by her parents to the D’Urbevilles, who were royal, to claim her fortune. Change of social status is evident as Angel, who is from a royal family, ends up being a farmer, and marries a milkmaid. This put emphasis on her vulnerability.
In this novel, Hardy uses economic, gender and social class in the 19th century to highlight the identity of Tess and other characters. Today, these factors still define lives of people. Here in school, students tend to identify themselves with others based on some of these factors.
Students from a rich family background and a high social class tend to identify with one another. This may be because they can afford to hang out together e.g. going to expensive hang out joints. It is almost impossible to find a student from a poor family background hanging out with these rich students.
Hardy, T. & Basset J. (2008). Tess of the D’Urbervilles, London: Oxford University Press.
Shmoop, U. (2007, February 15). Tess of the D’Urbervilles Themes, Retrieved from
Silverman, K. (2002). History and Female Subjectivity in “Tess of the d’Urbervilles, North Carolina: Duke University Press.
The Form of a Poem Essay
There is a reason why there are different types of poems, there is a song, sonnet, villanelle, hymn, ode, elegy, versanelle and many more. The reason for this is the need for different ways to express the longing of the heart and the soul. Sometimes it is better to sing; sometimes it is best to speak of what was hidden and has to be revealed to the light of day.
But even if there are different forms of poetry there are many writers and poets who are not contented with what is available to them and so they took the different forms and experiment on it, one of the best example is E.E. Cummings. Yet even without the experimentations of Cummings there are plenty of examples on how poets use form to convey what they want to say. This paper will take a closer look at how form can impact the message of the poem.
It has been said that Shakespeare, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Gwendolyn Brooks are some of the writers who were not afraid to bend the rules of poetry. Based on their achievements and their skills one can argue that this has been on purpose. They did not do it just for the sake of experimentation or simply trying to create something new.
They did on purpose to achieve a certain effect (Hirsch, p.311). It can be said that words are not enough to express what they wanted the world to know and so they took what was available for them and then create a masterpiece by changing and even altering the universally accepted forms and rules of how to create poems.
One of the best examples of not only artistic freedom but also the confidence to go against the flow and create original works is E.E. Cummings.
One commentator was able to capture the impact of Cummings poetry and this is what he had to say regarding the author: “Although he says he is far from original, it is agreed by all that he was an innovative poet in many fields, especially form … he attempts to deal with his words visually and this way takes his poem closer to visual arts and painting rather than music” (Korhan, p.1). In other words Cummings wanted his readers not only to hear but to see.
A good way to illustrate this technique is by looking at one of Cummings bizarre output which is entitled “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” and it is difficult to say or read it and so it must be seen and this is how it looks:
a)s w(e loo)k
,grasshopper; (Cummings, p.1).
This is more like code or a riddle rather than a poem. And the only reason why it made sense was the presence of the word “grasshopper” at the very end of the poem. It can be interpreted as a grasshopper that jumps from one place to the next at random without pattern and without explanation. For instance, it is easy to understand the movement of a dog. Its master throws a ball he catches it and brings it back. A dog will jump and bark to get the attention of its master and this is easy to understand but a grasshopper has no logic to its movement.
By writing the poem this way and using this form then the author was able to show the behavior of a grasshopper. Cummings could have said the same thing in a few words but instead of talking about it he simply showed it using poetry but this time not the words that is contained in it but the form.
The form is also part of the message. The form communicates something that cannot be said. In other times it is a way to communicate using a few words, the efficient use of space allows expert lyricists and poets to create something that can create lasting impact in the hearts and minds of their readers.
It can also be said that by bending the rules and experimenting on form the authors are attracting the readers to read their work. It also produces different layers of meaning instead of simply saying it with words there is another tool that can be used to send another message, one that can help the reader get deeper into the poetry. This is the reason why poets like Cummings would not hesitate to go against the conventions of writing poetry.
Aside from the visual aspect of form, there is another why form is used to show the theme of the poem. The form is not only the meter and the rhyme but also the choice of words and even the way it is arranged (Roza, p.7). For instance authors would use repetition and word play such as the use of terms that are related to each other and therefore by placing them in a certain position the author is saying to pay attention to these words. The best example is a poem by Dylan Thomas entitled Do not Gentle into that Good Night.
In Thomas’ masterpiece he used repetition to highlight the most important points. He wanted the readers to understand the desperate cry of a son for his father not to surrender to death that easily. The son knows that his father is about to die and he wanted to prevent it. In other words he wanted to lengthen his life by encouraging him not to give up and this was seen in how the author used repetition.
By persuading him not to go and using the phrase Do not go four times he is making his desperation felt. And by repeating the word rage and to rage against the dying of light is his solution to the problem which is to say that the father should not only desire to live but to fight for that belief and that right to stay alive.
Aside from repetitions Thomas was also conscious about the way to play with words and he knew that there is going to affect his readers and make them understand what he was trying to say about the pain of death. He did this by using two opposite words and yet he positioned these words so that it will rhyme and therefore the readers will be forced to see the contrast between night and light. It was the son’s warning to his father that darkness awaits him if he will not rage against death.
Form is not just there for the sake of order and logic. This is because authors can sometimes bend the rules not to create chaos but to clarify and to improve the communication between author and reader. There are times when words are not enough that a visual representation is needed. Sometimes words describing a feeling or a scene is not enough so that the author will rely on repetition and a careful use of word play to make the readers focus on what they are really trying to say.
The best examples of experimenting with form and the use of repetitions to create an effect are the works of Cummings and Thomas. Cummings did not hesitate to create something that can also be seen not just heard. Thomas on the other hand used repetitions to highlight what he wanted to say and to add urgency to his message which is in fact his theme, to show a son’s desperate attempt to save his father from sure death.
Cummings, E.E. “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r.” Web.
Hirsch, Edward. How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry. Florida: Harcourt, 1999.
Roza, Greg. Patterns in Poetry: Recognizing and Analyzing Poetic Form and Meter. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2005.
Death and the Maiden: Emily Dickinson’s Thematic Obsession with Death Critical Essay
Emily Dickinson continues to fascinate poetry lovers for numerous reasons. The reclusive spinster lived the life of the devoted artist, spending her short years composing over 1700 poems. Her powerful intellect and gifted use of language was so far ahead of its time, despite her minimal formal education, that less than 12 of her poems were published during her lifetime. Posthumously, Dickinson has ironically achieved the immortality that she so often wrote about in her work.
This essay studies three of Dickinson’s poems that deal exclusively with the theme of death: “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” and “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close.” Death represents a major theme in Emily Dickinson’s poems, and through arresting imagery the poet explores the idea of death, specifically in regards to its effects upon the living.
In “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” Dickinson begins the poem with the lines “Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me” (Meyer n.p.). In these lines the poet articulates the universal struggle that humans have with death – the inevitability of it – the understanding that death cannot be avoided by anyone, no matter how busy or important they are.
Death’s intractable nature often offends the human being’s sense of importance. The haunting voice of Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” observes that the nature of time has changed since her death. “Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet, Feels shorter than the Day, I first surmised the Horses’ Heads, Were toward Eternity” (Meyer n.p.). Interestingly, the poem supports many interpretations of the poet’s thematic message.
Critics assert that the voice recalls her death from beyond the grave, or that Gentleman Death has placed her in purgatory, or that she wishes to die, and the poem expresses her death wish, or that the speaker notes the difference between the finite state of life and the infinite state of death (Joyner 1). Dickinson’s haunting poem, her most oft quoted, perfectly enunciates “the human’s lot of the realization of death to be so overwhelming that it makes time stand still” (Joyner 1).
“I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” details the last moments of a dying woman, witnessed by the lowliest of insects, the common house fly. Dickinson’s lines “with blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz, between the light and me; And then the windows failed, and then, I could not see to see” create a close kinship between the reader and the speaker as she details her passage from life into death (Meyer n.p.).
Dickinson gives the voice of the poem to a speaker who in the midst of traversing “the border between life and death,” and as such “the association of dying with the noise of a common insect is all the more jarring coming from such an unusual authority” (Zarlengo 2).
Dickinson’s thematic message here appears to be that at the moment of death, the human desire to live is ignited, and the senses become acutely tuned and highly appreciative of the most mundane details of life, simply because they are leaving it. “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” contains an “ironic mixture of the common and the grand” and a quiet enjoyment of the final moments of life (Zarlengo 2).
In “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close” Dickinson asks the particularly insightful question of what happens after death, or more specifically, how the state of being dead might compare with the events of her life thus far, “in terms of hugeness and inconceivability” (Kelly 1) Dickinson’s lines “It yet remains to see, If Immortality unveil, A third event to me, So huge, so hopeless to conceive” (Meyer n.p.) As these lines demonstrate, as a poet Dickinson remains fearless enough to “skip past the intellectual ease of praising heaven and rejecting hell” (Kelly 1).
Thematically, this poems seems to point toward the burning question – what will the afterlife be like? More specifically, what if the afterlife is not as interesting or engaging as life? In critic David Kelly’s words, “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close” posits that “even worse than Eternity being bad would be if it were irrelevant: the very unsettling question this poem asks is whether heaven or hell will be as potent or as startling as our experiences here on Earth.
The Afterlife less interesting than life?” (Kelly 1). “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close” opens another door into the theme of death from Dickinson’s penetrating and sharp intellect.
Death clearly affected Dickinson powerfully while she wrote, and as readers of poetry her legacy remains the penetrating insight she offered toward this element of life that is the most disturbing and elusive. As a poet Dickinson explored the theme of death from multiple angles, not simply through common themes of loss and pain, but also through insightful intellectual pondering of the state of death and how it illuminates the character of life.
Joyner, Nancy Carol. “Because I Could Not Stop For Death: Overview.” Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed. Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. London: St. James Press, 1994. Print.
Kelly, David. “Overview of ‘My Life Closed Twice before Its Close.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Ruby and Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Group Publishing, 2000. Print.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. 9th ed. New York: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.
Zarlengo, Kristina. “Critical Essay on ‘I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary K. Ruby. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Group Publishing, 1999. Print.
The Power of Introductory Word to the World of Faerie Knights Essay
Edmund Spenser was one of the most famous English poets of the 16th century whose main achievement was the creation of the epic poem, The Faerie Queene.
This poem is considered to be a successful example of how the stanzas may be organized, and Spencer’s contribution to the development of fixed verses was considerable. In this paper, the two beginning verses of the poem will be analyzed in order to comprehend the motives of the author as well as the main messages sent from the end of the 16th century.
Each line of The Faerie Queene is a kind of brick that creates a magnificent path to the door that opens the world of Faerie knights, ladies, and emotions which develop various types of relations.
There are two verses of 9 lines each which are introduced in the iambic pentameter ended with one Alexandrine line. Such combination of lines facilitates the reading process and shows that more interest appears with each new line offered.
Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,
As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds. (Spenser and Kaske 3)
The author admits that he is not ready to disclose his personality but still underlines that he has certain skills to introduce a story as he has Muse that had already inspired him long time ago.
Am now enforst a farre unfitter taske,
For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds. (Spenser and Kaske 3)
These lines show that the author has to take a serious step in his life and undergo a number of changes to meet the expectations of the society. Though he is not sure whether he is ready to take such a step, he makes an attempt and wants to succeed.
And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds,
Whose prayses having slept in silence long.
Me, all too meane, the sacred Muse areeds
To blazon broad emongst her learned throng:
Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my song. (Spenser and Kaske 3)
His task now is to describe the life of knights and their ladies, and his previous duties were far from evaluating such amazing times of honor, prudence, and passion. Though the stories about those past times are hidden to the reader, the author wants to disclose the peculiarities of human lives. Fights, love, and glory are the main aspects of the poem.
Helpe then, O holy Virgin chiefe of nine,
Thy weaker Novice to performe thy will. (Spenser and Kaske 4).
The author is not afraid to ask for help and admit his own weaknesses. Still, he has to perform the will set, and he will ask anyone for help to succeed in his activities.
Lay forth out of thine everlasting scryne
The antique rolles, which there lye hidden still,
Of Faerie knights and fairest Tanaquill,
Whom that most noble Briton Prince so long
Sought through the world, and suffered so much ill,
That I must rue his undeserved wrong:
O helpe thou my weake wit, and sharpen my dull tong. (Spenser and Kaske 4)
In these lines, the author introduces one of the main ideas of the poem, and “fairest Tanaquill”, the queen of the Land that is considered in the story. Not much information is available about people, the land, and the activities of the queen, this is why it is so interesting to investigate the events from the past and describe their urgency for the reader.
Suffering and pain have been inherent to the times of the queens and knights, and it is a human duty to appreciate personal past and be aware of how different people fight for their freedom, love, and honor. Life is divided into the parts, and the main task of the knight is to find his own place in the world and his mistress in order to make the life complete.
In general, the idea of the two first verses of the poem is clear indeed: there are some themes from the past that have to be disclosed to the reader, and the author takes the responsibility to introduce the world of the knights and queens from his own perspective. Of course, he understands that he is not powerful enough to describe properly each aspect of past life; this is why he is ready to admit his weakness and to ask higher powers for help and inspiration.
Spenser, Edmund and Kaske, Carol. “The First Booke of the Faerie Queene. Contayning. The Legend of the Knight of the Red Crosse, or of Holinesse.” The Faerie Queene: Book One. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.: 2006.