At the round earths imagined corners (Holy Sonnet 7): Shmoop Poetry Guide

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  5. Preliminary Note:

Answer the following questions to help you explore this problem. John Miltons poem is a good example of a Petrarchan sonnet. This is to say that both its form and structure conform to the traditional Petrarchan convention of fourteen lines, as well as having a typically Petrarchan rhyme scheme of abba abba cde cde. Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries would adopt, and even slightly adapt, this verse form more than two hundred years later, although the sonnets running feature of the standard fourteen lines remained unchanged. While dealing with the subject of love, say by exploring the virtues of the poets mistress, Shakespeare and other sonneteers ranged more widely and thus wrote about topics that touched on and relate to human existence in general, hence the frequency in their poetry of motifs such as humour, sickness, love, death, and so forth.

In addition, Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries adapted and modified the sonnets form and structure by doing away with the Petrarchan divisions based on the octave and the sestet. Instead, they introduced their own distinctive divisions, namely three quatrains and, crucially, the rhyming couplet the last two lines of the sonnet. It is important to note that, when it came to writing sonnets, some sonneteers, notably John Donne, decided to retain the Petrarchan convention. The poem is autobiographical in that it represents the poets life experiences Milton began to lose his sight in , and by he was completely blind.

The poem is divided into an octave the first eight lines and a sestet the last six lines. The meaning of the poem follows this division. In the first eight lines, the speaker, Milton himself, questions how he can serve God by writing poetry if he is blind. Lines 3 to 6 are an allusion to the parable of the talents Matthew In this parable, the master of three servants goes away on a journey but, before leaving, he gives them each some money coins called talents and tells them to use the money wisely.

On his return he rewards the first two servants who have put their coins to good use and doubled their money. The third servant, however, buries his talent and presents the master with this one talent on his return. His master punishes him for his laziness and casts him out into the darkness. ExERCISE Answer the following questions to help you understand how Milton has used the parable in his poem: 1 What do you think the word talent means in the context of the poem? Describe the kind of talent that Milton has been given by God and what he feels about his talent. Miltons reference to talents alludes, or refers, to Christs parable.

In the parable the word talent is the name of a coin, but the word takes the more modern meaning, in this poem, of gifts or special abilities we are blessed with. Milton has been given a gift, a talent, for writing poetry, just as the servants were given coins. If Milton hides or buries this gift, as the third servant buried the coin he was given, it would be tantamount to Miltons death a spiritual death in that he would be unable to serve God just as, in the parable, hiding the coin spelled almost literal death for the servant, who was cast out by his master.

Milton feels he will be called to account for his use or failure to use of his gift, just as the servant was called to account for the fact that he had not made his money grow like the other servants had. Milton compares himself with this servant his own talent, that is, his gift for writing poetry is lodged with him, useless as he is blind and cannot write, even though he is more bent, more determined than ever to serve God with this talent.

He wishes to present a good account to God, to show, as the two servants in the parable did, that he has used his gifts wisely and to the glory of God, in order to avoid being chided, or scolded and cast out into the darkness. But how? Milton boldly asks foolishly or fondly , Does God expect service day-labour from His subjects, while at the same time denying them light sight?

Some literary terms Personification: This means giving inanimate lifeless objects human qualities. For example, in the sentence, Her dress danced in the wind, the word danced is an example of personification.

Holy Sonnet:At The Round Earths Imagin'd:John Donne: Urdu Translation

Oxymoron: a poetic arrangement of words to create a paradoxical expression, which combines two terms, which in everyday use, are opposites. For example, in the sentence, It was a bittersweet farewell party, the word bittersweet is an oxymoron. Pun: a play on words that may sound the same but be very different in meaning. In the sestet, Patience the capital letter indicates that Milton personifies this virtue answers Miltons question, or perhaps simply shows him that the question is badly framed.

Gods will is represented by the image of the yoke, used to harness the ox to the plough, and is a symbol of submission. List the images and explain what they mean. God is a mighty presence and has thousands who travel the earth doing His bidding He does not need any special efforts from Milton. Simply by submitting to Gods will, Milton is serving him and the poem ends on this note: They also serve who only stand and wait this line has been used to justify passivity, of course , while at the same time pointing to the kind of meekness alluded to in Christian teaching which is said to be a good thing.

For example, we are told in the Bible that the meek shall inherit the earth. In this poem, Milton uses a pun to put across an idea. For example, light, understood literally, means the light of day Milton has spent his days up to now serving God by making use of his gift for writing poetry. But now his light eyesight has been used up and spent. So, in fact, there is a play on the meaning of both light and spent.

The significance is that Milton questions how he can serve God without light both daylight to see by and eyesight to see with. Mild yoke is an oxymoron, a figure of speech by which an expression, usually two words, produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in cruel kindness, bittersweet, or to make haste slowly. God controls his servants with kindness, so Milton suggests.

A good way to begin is to put together two opposites, as Shakespeare does in Romeo and Juliet when he speaks of loving hate. Note that there is a dramatic shift between the two sections of the poem. In the octave, Miltons tone is questioning, even peevish and annoyed, as he wonders how he can be expected to serve God if God removes his ability, his tools as it were, to do so.

In the sestet, though, his patience is restored by the words of the personified virtue Patience. The tone in the last six lines is one of acceptance and resignation to his plight. The poem ends on a more optimistic note, though; he realises that he too has a role to play and he too can serve God, even if it is in a less obvious and active way than he did before. Simply accepting his lot is in fact to serve God. Give reasons from your own life experience. Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove.

O, no! Whose worths unknown, although his height be taken. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. You will recall how, when we looked at John Miltons sonnet, On His Blindness, we observed the way in which his Petrarchan sonnet is divided into an octave the first eight lines , and a sestet the last six lines , with the ideas in the poem following that division.

Just like Petrarchan sonnets, Shakespeares sonnets were also written in fourteen lines. This final division has two lines, which rhyme. Usually the poet allows the theme of the poem to develop progressively, building it up through each of the quatrains, until the highest point is reached, or, in some cases a contrasting point is expressed in the rhyming couplet.

Sound effects in poetry Poetry is meant to be read aloud. For this reason, poets often use carefully chosen sound-effects, such as alliteration, assonance and rhyme. Here are some definitions of these terms. Alliteration the deliberate repetition of consonants at the beginning of words that are placed close together for example, the river raged. Assonance similarity in the vowel sounds of words that are close together for example, born and warm. Note that the spelling does not have to be the same for the words to rhyme.

Use a different letter for each sound at the end of a line. So, for example, you would represent the sound of minds at the end of the first line by a. Identify the use of personification in the poem and explain how this powerful poetic device contributes to the overall understanding of the poem. If you came up with abab cdcd efef gg as the rhyming scheme for the above poem, then you are right. Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds is held together by the cohesive devices of alliteration and assonance, just as if not more than it is by the rhyme scheme.

The poets use of personification writing about Love and Time as though they had human qualities gives the sonnet great power, thereby contributing to a greater understanding of its theme. Briefly explain how he does this. The overall meaning of the poem also called the theme is certainly the speakers strong resolve to love in the face of difficulties. For example, take note of the following expressions: Let me not , Love is not , Or bends with the remover , O, no!

This passionate and self-assured tone permeates the whole sonnet. The tone helps us to realise that the speaker completely believes that love is the only eternal and indomitable force that overcomes and overwhelms all barriers, and that good and wholesome love is the key to overcoming mortality the inevitability of death. But these general remarks about the poem seem more Lets work towards a clear understanding of how this general idea is communicated by answering the questions that follow. List them and explain the ways in which they are barriers to love.

Some of the difficulties or obstacles pointed out in the poem are found in terms such as remove, impediments, tempests, and doom. The speaker expresses his firm resolve or determination to love. You would have mentioned images of sea journeys, storms, navigation by stars, the effective use of the word compass, and so forth. The speaker uses a metaphor when he likens the constancy of love to an ever fixd mark and a star to every wandring bark, both suggesting the idea of the compass and its significance in showing directions during navigation.

The speaker goes on to demonstrate the relationship between love and time, insisting that Loves not Times fool, that love never bends with time line 4 , though the bending of Times sickle destroys youth it cannot alter love line In other words, the greatest impediment to love is time, but the speaker maintains that love can overcome Time. In short, the poem seeks to resist or fight loves enemy time which is ultimately the enemy of life itself as the force of ageing, of falling off out! The speaker makes it clear that he is aware of such impediments that could stand in the way of love, that could cause love to alter, but that he himself cannot allow such a thought to cross his mind because of his total conviction and understanding that love is unconditional, pure and complete and transcends time and, perhaps, even death.

According to the speaker, true love does not change: even if there may be reasons for doing so, it remains ever and unwaveringly constant. It is now time to focus on the rhyming couplet. In Shakespearean sonnets, in particular, the rhyming couplet has a special function of wrapping up the argument or line of reasoning presented in the poem.

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In this case, the speakers declaration, Love is not love Here, the idea of genuine love is placed in context the relation of the poet himself to true love. We can rewrite these two lines informally as follows: If my claims or utterances can be tested and it can be demonstrated that Im mistaken, then, either I havent written any work presumably this poem and other works and neither I or any other man has ever fallen in love. In this context, the writer seems to suggest that he must be right since he has written and has loved someone before.

Two important terms Irony: the technique of implying exactly the opposite of what is being said. In other words, the meaning of something differs from what it appears to be. Considering what the speaker says in the three quatrains, the rhyming couplet might be seen as ironical or paradoxical, especially given the speakers keen awareness that time is, in fact, the enemy of love.

A highly critical reader will read irony into the couplet the kind of reader who is perhaps prepared to embrace the contrasting views of the poet or speaker, particularly considering the views and arguments about love expressed in the three quatrains. Use your dictionary to help you. Notice how Keats first line of his poem echoes Miltons first line of his sonnet repeating the When I What does this tell you about the writing of sonnets?

John Keatss poem possesses the characteristics of an Elizabethan sonnet. Like Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds, its rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg. The speaker says that the thought of dying young terrifies him. This fear is caused by the fact that he has not fulfilled himself through writing poetry, something for which he has natural talent.

Remarkable Essays in English Medieval and Reniassance Literature

The historical background to this poem is that the Romantic poet, John Keats, experienced all manner of affliction in his life, including the death of family members who succumbed to tuberculosis known as consumption in the nineteenth century. At that time, TB was fatal. He, too, later developed the symptoms of this disease and died at only 24 years old. In the sonnet, Keats reflects on, identifies with and tackles the emotion of fear, which is fuelled by the thought of dying before his time.

In the first quatrain, the speakers brain is literally teeming with ideas that he wants penned or written down. Keatss fear of death is expressed through his use of a powerful image a picture in words in line 2, where he likens writing poetry to harvesting grain, with the pen as the main instrument for carrying out such a process: Before my pen has gleand my teeming brain. In the following line, books are compared to garners or granaries: buildings where grain is stored after harvest. We gather that he wants to harvest the fruit of his mind grain before he dies.

ExERCISE Look at the second quatrain and answer the following questions: 1 When the speaker looks up into the sky, he sees stars and clouds in the night. What do you think these symbolise? In the second quatrain, Keats goes on to reflect on the possible consequences of his untimely death by using personification.

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When he looks at the shining, starry night, he is reminded of symbols of high romance line 6 whose shadows he may not trace if he were to die young. High romance here suggests abstract or philosophical ideas about the meaning of life, in this case associated with the stars. The speaker says that he thinks it possible to find meaning in life through great achievements that philosophers have talked about down the centuries as being associated with the stars. In the last quatrain, Keats addresses someone, possibly his beloved.

The person is described as the fair creature of an hour line 9. The use of the word faery for fairy is both old and odd to describe the ephemeral nature of romance and, by extension, life. The speaker is suggesting here ExERCISE Consider the rhyming couplet the last two lines of the poem and answer the following questions: 1 What emotions is the poet expressing in these lines?

If the quatrains provided the speaker with high ideals about things such as the meaning of life then the rhyming couplet is a far cry from this thinking. This is because the poet comes to the awareness that he is alone in this world, and that fame is a short-lived thing for him to bother about. His long quest for the meaning of life which he thought he would find in knowledge, fame and love seems a forlorn hope, something inconsequential, since love and fame to nothingness do sink line At this point, not only does this realisation seem to dispel Keatss fear of death, but it also seems to make him come to terms with the idea of dying, and see it as a natural thing.

The speaker experiences various emotions in the rhyming couplet, including loneliness, despair, nihilism the sense that life is meaningless , and a sense of resignation in the face of the inescapable impermanence of life. The sea is calm tonight. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! Look, for example, at the first and last lines. The first line reads The sea is calm tonight but the last line reads Where ignorant armies clash by night.

What is the difference in meaning between these two lines? Obviously something has changed dramatically between the first line and the last: in the rest of this section, we are going to explore what it is. What is the poem about? Take a few minutes to read it aloud and then try to write a single sentence that begins Dover Beach is about.

You will notice that it is not as easy to say what Dover Beach is about as it is to pin down what a news report, for example, is about. If you do not understand exactly what the poem is saying, though, do not panic. Re-read it and look for something you understand. We could begin, for example, by looking more closely at who is present in the poem.

Look for clues in the poem and then write your answer on the lines below. You probably noticed the speaker addressing someone in lines 6, 9 and In line 6 he says Come to the window, which implies that he is with someone; in line 9 he tells this person to Listen and in line 29 he calls his companion love. It is only at this point, then, that we actually find out who is present in the poem: it seems though we cannot be absolutely sure that it is a man and his female partner. This changes our interpretation of the poem slightly as we realise that we are eavesdropping on a moment of intimacy between lovers.

For the rest of this discussion, I am going to explore a single image from the poem the image of the sea and see where it leads us. In the first few lines of the poem, the speaker draws a picture of himself and a loved one standing at a window looking out over the sea. As the poem progresses, it becomes clear that this is not just any sea, but the sea that lies between England and France Dover lies opposite the French city of Calais, at the narrowest point of the English Channel that separates the two countries. The speaker and his companion, then, are looking over the sea at another country.

In the first stanza, the sea is calm and peaceful, and the speaker creates a beautiful image of tranquillity with the moonlit bay spread out before him. Things can never remain like this, though, and so, by the end of the first stanza, the speaker has introduced a completely different note: the eternal note of sadness line 14 that comes from the pebbles that the waves throw continuously up the beach in a grating roar line 9.

At this stage, in the first stanza, I think you will agree that the sea in the poem is a real sea, with waves, sand and fish. In the second stanza, though, it is not quite the same sea: here the speaker mentions Sophocles and the Aegean, referring back through history to the 5th century BCE a time that nobody could remember who would ever read this poem.

At this point we notice that the sea is more than a literal one: the speaker is beginning to write about it as a remembered body of water. Later in the poem it will become more symbolic of emotion and human conditions. It is important to note that the sea, by itself, cannot sound like human misery at all. This meaning has been added by the speaker, and even attributed to Sophocles. In the next stanza, the sea changes once again: this time it is the Sea of Faith line ExERCISE Take a minute to think about what this metaphor means to you and write down all the meanings you can think of in the space below:.

Here the speaker in Dover Beach compares the levels of faith in the world to a sea. But he does not use the words like or as in order to create the comparison. If he had, for example if he had written faith is like a sea, this would have been a simile. He simply says that there is a Sea of Faith that is waning as human history goes on. Historical context The idea of the Sea of Faith is important here.

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During the Victorian Era there was a loss of some peoples faith in God and in the Christian religion, largely due to the fact that science made major advances, including Charles Darwins theory of evolution, which discredited the idea of God having created the whole world as recounted in the Bible. When the speaker in Dover Beach says that the Sea of Faith is withdrawing and retreating, he is referring to the loss of faith in God, but also, more generally, to a loss of faith in life in general. As people lost faith in God during the Victorian Era, according to Arnold, there was an increasing sense of pessimism in peoples lives.

The image of the sea covers several ideas: first is the quality of ebbing and flowing with the tide, as the water rises and falls twice a day. Explore the poem to find images of the tide rising and falling, and think about how the levels of peoples faith and misery have been rising and falling throughout history. The second idea is expressed in lines 14, 17 and 25, and is related to the sound made by In these images, though, the speaker has not found these emotions in the sound of the sea retreating down the beach: they have been projected onto the sound of the sea. In the fourth stanza or paragraph of poetry , in lines , the speaker explains his view of the world and of life in general.

Look at the images used in this stanza and fill in the table explaining the denotations and connotations of each one. Connotations and denotations Connotations are the meanings associated with a word or phrase, beyond its direct or literal meaning denotation. For example, we know that the word rose has a certain meaning: it refers to, or denotes, a kind of flower. The fact that a rose is associated with love is part of its connotation, rather than part of its direct meaning. In studying poetry, we are often more concerned with connotation than denotation.

Image land of dreams a darkling plain confused alarms of struggle and flight ignorant armies clash by night. You will probably agree that the image of life, and of the world, that is created in this stanza is not optimistic. Arnold contrasts two things. Lets take a minute to consider this image. What would you imagine in a land of dreams? Wouldnt you imagine a realm where all your wishes could be fulfilled? Would it not also be various that is, containing many different things , beautiful and new that is, not worn out?

In these two lines, Arnold sums up all the hopes and wishes that people have in relation to their experiences of the world. Look at all the negative expressions in these two lines each positive feature of life such as joy, love, light and so on is negated one by one, until the reader feels crushed by the weight of all the things that are not provided by the world. Instead of our wishes coming true Arnold says , we are here as on a darkling plain. Darkling is an unusual word and one that we do not usually use.

It means becoming darker or associated with the dark. The speaker says that we that is, human beings are here as on a darkling plain the word as signals the fact that this is a simile or comparison between two things. Here means in the world, and the picture that is created is of an empty, flat, dark, uninhabited space the darkling plain.

The last two lines of the poem use the sense of hearing rather than sight to create the impression of confusion and the noise of battle, which you probably noticed in the image of ignorant armies. Dover Beach is not a cheerful poem. Rather, it uses a number of images to evoke that is, to make the reader feel and understand a growing sense of disillusionment and despair.

ExERCISE What is the one thing that, according to the speaker, remains to be believed in the face of global confusion and loss of faith? Write your answer in the space below:. Finally, let us look at how the poem is written. I am sure you noticed immediately that its lines do not rhyme in a regular scheme as they do in some of the other poems we have examined so far. In the first stanza the the final words of the lines are: to-night, fair, light, stand, bay, night-air and so on.

Some of these lines rhyme with each other such as fair and night-air but some do not. In the same way, you might notice that the lines in Dover Beach are of different lengths, with some much longer than others. This means that Dover Beach is written in a less regular format than we are used to; it is, in fact, in free verse. Matthew Arnold wrote during the Victorian Era in a time when there was more freedom of experimentation with poetic form than there was in Shakespeares time and this might help to explain why his poem is less regular than many earlier poems. The effect of free verse as opposed to more regular poetic forms such as the sonnet or the heroic couplet is to make the poetry sound like normal, natural conversation between two people.

It is not really normal conversation, though: when people speak naturally, there are all kinds of interruptions in their speech, such as um and you know and even like, which are completely absent from this poem. So the poet is actually working hard to make his poetry sound as though it is being spoken naturally. If you are in doubt about this, make a list of the contrasting words that appear in the poem, such as calm and war, cadence and clash. Overall, the speaker evokes a scene of order in the first three stanzas, but this is overthrown by an idea of chaos and disorder in the final stanza when he begins to speak about war and the destruction it brings in its wake.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that, the passing there Had worn them really just about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.

What is this image? Write your answer in the space below. I am sure you noticed that the poem uses the image or picture in words of a person standing at a fork in the path and deciding to take one path rather than another. The poem deals with the process used by the speaker to make a choice between the two paths that lie in front of him. By using this title, the poet draws the readers attention to the poems focus on the choice that was not made, rather than the choice that was.

Compare this imaginary situation with your own life experience. Have you ever made a choice between two things that, like the two paths in the poem, appear much the same? If you have, did you find yourself wondering what would have happened if you had chosen differently? What, though, is the point of writing an entire poem about choosing between two paths in a wood? Why should we, as readers, care about this at all? In fact, the poem deals with a choice on the literal level of coming to a fork in the road. What could this suggest on the figurative level that is, what are the symbolic and metaphoric meanings of this situation?

The path is clearly much more than a specific route through a particular wood it is a metaphor for a life choice made by the speaker. In the final stanza of the poem, the speaker tells us that he took the one less travelled by line 19 and that this has made all the difference. This means that the speaker found himself on a life path that was not popular or chosen by many people since it is less travelled by. How could this make all the difference? The Road Not Taken is an example of a poet using a fairly simple image the picture of someone making a choice between two paths in a wood to mean something much broader: the choice between two options in life.

By using this image, the poem explores the way humans make decisions like this and, often, cannot say what made them choose as they did and then wonder what might have happened if they had chosen differently. To round off our discussion, we are going to explore how the poem is written its form.

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  5. What we call rhyme is a quality of the words at the end of lines of poetry. When these words sound the same, we say that the poem rhymes. The Road Not Taken is a rhyming poem: the poet has created stanzas of five lines each where the first, third and fourth lines all rhyme, and the second and fifth lines rhyme with each other. This is not a regular or recognised poetic form with a name such as a ballad, limerick or sonnet, but Frost uses it to great effect in this poem.

    We do not usually use rhyme either when we speak or when we write. So what are these sound-effects for? I will try to answer the question by looking at the rhymes in the first stanza, which are: wood-stood-could lines 1, 3 and 4 ; both-undergrowth lines 2 and 5. All these words contain long vowel sounds, which are drawn out and have the effect of drawing out the readers attention, making the action of the poem appear longer.

    The effect would have been different if the poet had used shorter vowel sounds, such as those in pat or cut. It would also have been different if he had used words with more syllables, such as establishment. By using short words, most of them with only one syllable each, the poet is making use of simple terms and concepts to get his message across. Try this yourself: deliberately try to use short words when you speak or write in an informal context. Explore how this feels and what the effect is on your reader or audience. But what is the poem about and how does exploring the rhymes help us to arrive at an understanding of its meaning?

    A more abstract version of this question would ask whether the formal aspects of a poem, such as rhyme and the shape of the stanzas, have any impact at all on the meaning. The rhyme scheme for The Road Not Taken looks like this: Stanza 1: Stanza 2: Stanza 3: Stanza 4: Lines 1, 3 and 4: Lines 2 and 5: Lines 1, 3, and 4: Lines 2 and 5: Lines 1, 3 and 4: Lines 2 and 5: Lines 1, 3 and 4: Lines 2 and 5: wood, stood, could both, undergrowth fair, wear, there claim, same lay, day, way black, back sigh, I, by hence, difference.

    You will notice immediately that the rhyming words are short most of them are only one syllable long. By choosing certain words to rhyme, Frost has placed them in relationships with each other, so each of the rhyming groups listed above is somehow connected: for example, one group from Stanza 3 is lay, day and way. These words are connected because, on that particular day, the speaker found himself in a place where two ways or paths lay before him the word day also suggests light and brightness or clarity.

    The other rhyme in this stanza is between black and back. When we compare the meaning of day and way we can see how the speaker is suggesting that the clearest route or way ahead is to go forward by one of the two paths, while going back to take the other path would be unlikely, as implied by the rhyme with black or darkness.

    As it turns out, the speaker knows that he will not go back to that same spot in the wood and then take the other path, because he says: Oh, I kept the first for another day! We can paraphrase this or rewrite it in our own words.


    We might say something like the following I have used a different font so you can more easily see my words : The speaker says that he chose one of the paths and followed it, imagining that he would come back to the other one at a later stage. He knew, though, that his chosen path would lead him on to other paths, and so would lead him very far away from the original spot where he made a choice. So he knew that he would probably never return and therefore would probably never get a chance to follow the other path.

    Above, I have rewritten the lines from The Road Not Taken in my own words using a different font in order to understand better what they mean. This is known as paraphrase. It can be useful when you are trying to understand a complex or difficult text, but you must be sure that you do not over-use it, and especially that you do not use it in your essays without providing a reference to the text you are paraphrasing. This would make you guilty of plagiarism. You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, Ill rise.

    Why are you beset with gloom? Cause I walk like Ive got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainly of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still Ill rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries.

    Does my haughtiness offend you? Dont you take it awful hard Cause I laugh like Ive got gold mines Diggin in my own back yard You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, Ill rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like Ive got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of historys shame I rise Up from a past thats rooted in pain I rise Im a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak thats wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. Tone is the emotion, feeling or emotional resonance of the poem or an image in it.

    Tone is also used to refer to the attitude of the speaker. Tone is an important marker of a persons mood for example, angry, hopeful, sympathetic or impatient. By close reading of a poem, you will be able to establish the tone by examining the poets choice of words. Diction: this word means the choice and use of words and phrases to express meaning. It refers, thus, to the way a poet chooses words and places them in the lines of poetry to create a certain meaning or effect. Synonym: two words or phrases that mean the same. For example, synonyms of the word angry are annoyed, furious, irritated, and so forth.

    We are going to apply the concepts we defined in the box above to our reading of Still I Rise. Give reasons for your answers.

    Preliminary Note:

    The poem is written in an informal, conversational style. The poem has a rhyme scheme. The tone of the speaker in the poem is one of anger and boldness. The overall meaning of the poem is the speakers indomitable urge to speak out against injustice. And toolbelts. And those large, leather folios for carrying architectural drawings. I would like to talk about safety goggles, driving gloves, tap shoes, bowling bags. I would like to talk about all the cool stuff that cool people carry when they are about to do cool things, like scale mountains or make lithographs or filet enough tuna to feed a hundred wedding guests.

    Equipment, I mean. The craft of poetry involves surprisingly few physical materials. Good paper, a pen. Yes, certainly, a computer. The presence of such machinery in the public sphere denotes only the idea of work, the broadest sketch of occupation. A poet moves through the world and no one realizes who she is. The things she touches, she touches.

    There are no silver hats, and therefore no rules, to govern how she addresses herself to the world. The poet sees. The poet speaks. I know a chef who cultivates a sheaf of delicate knives. I know a painter who loves his linseed oil. These people make virtuosic use of their tools, moving beyond the limitations of our concrete, workaday world to bring something entirely new into it. This strange alchemy makes sonatas rise from plinths of wood and ivory; transforms a plaster wall into the face of the Virgin; makes marzipan appear where once were sugarwater, almond meal, and little else.

    For the poet, this transformation happens in the darkness of the braincase. There, we each shelter a secret trove of language; there we swing our special hammers of rock crystal and solitude. Virtuosity, for the poet, comes from locating that sweet lexical vein in the rock, where our true words live. I mean our real language, the words that belong to us and to no one else. Who can deny that poems come from other, inner worlds? She is speaking a language that comes directly from her bloodstream.

    There are no silver hats, and so no way to predict how a poet may come into her full truth. There are no silver hats, and so any one of us may come to poetry with new songs in our mouths. The dead languages of love were still in use, but also much silence, much soundless screaming at the top of the lungs. Are you a poet? Related Books:. If he has repented enough, God will show His "grace" through forgiveness.

    In Christian thinking, God's grace is "abundant" enough that anyone who asks earnestly for forgiveness will be granted it. In the middle of line 12, the poem shifts topics one more time. The shift is marked by the contrast between "there" and "here. The speaker asks God to teach him how to "repent" or ask for forgiveness line If God teaches him how to repent, the result would be the same as if God had sealed an official document of pardon with his own blood.

    Back in the day, people used a wax "seal" to make documents official. It was kind of like a signature. The speaker suggests that God's blood is like his personal seal. Remember when your mom told you there was a right way and a wrong way to say you're sorry? That seems to hold true in religious matters, as the speaker makes it sound like asking for forgiveness is a difficult task that requires a great teacher. Coming back to the present and the earth seems like "lowly ground" compared to the standing in front of God at the Apocalypse.

    But wait: like many of Donne's poems, this one has a twist at the end. The speaker compares learning to repent to having a pardon sealed in blood. The pardon would absolve him of his crimes.