On our Literature class, we started analysing the first poem of this year, “A Birthday” by Christina Rossetti. Our teacher, Pato, asked us to watch a video of an actress reciting the poem and answer the following questions. I worked with Jose, Lucía and Rochi.
a. What is the theme?
The theme is love, relationship, celebration, religion.
b. What is the tone?
The tone is peaceful, pacific, joyful.
c. What is the main difference between the two stanzas?
The first stanza revolves more around nature which can be seen with the imagery the author uses like “singing bird”, “nest in a watered shoot”, “apple-tree”, “boughs bent with…fruit”, “halcyon sea”. While the second talks more about material and luxurious objects, man-made objects. For example, “dais of silk”, “vair”.
d. How are the similes in the poem appropriate for the romantic longings the speaker feels?
In the first stanza the author states how happy she feels because “[her] love has come to [her]” by using natural images such as, “my heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea”, rainbow and paddling in a halcyon sea make reference to how peaceful, calm and glad she feels.
e. How is the metaphor of the birthday appropriate?
Because she feels like she was reborned,like there was a rebirth in herself, like she’s starting from scratch probably because she’s found love again.
f. Make a list of religious symbols. What do they mean in the poem?
“And peacocks with a hundred eyes” is a metaphor that means that God sees through the eyes of nature, of the animals. “Doves” are white birds and white birds represent peace.