“Evening in Paradise” – Poem Analysis

In our Literature class we have been analysing the poem “Evening in Paradise” from Paradise Lost by John Milton and made this slideshare:

https://es.slideshare.net/mobile/Pato_Ch/evening-in-paradise

Task 1

“Silence accompanied, for beast and bird, they to their grassy couch, these to their nests were slunk”, this quote depicts an analogy between night and heaven. Night is portrayed as peaceful, silent, still, made for rest, which shows a similarity to heaven, how heaven is commonly viewed as tranquil, where one is finally at peace.

Task 2

Semantic field for Day/Night: “Now came still evening on”

Semantic field for Nature: “beast and bird, they to their grassy couch, these to their nests”

Semantic Field for Jewels: “Now glowed with living sapphires”

Task 3

  • Enjambment is used by the writer to set a rhythm and to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Alliteration, for instance: “these to their nests were slunk”. It is used to carry the emotional charge, to highlight the idea that at night it is as if animals are compelled to go and rest.
  • Anaphora is used when two lines start with the word “Silence”. This is to emphasize the atmosphere of peacefulness and stillness that ruled the night.

Task 4

I hadn’t really thought of this scene in that way. Perhaps the “soft slumbrous weight [that] inclines [their] eyelids” gives the illusion or resembles someone giving in to death. But truthfully it is quite hard for me to view the scene as a funeral itself. I do see the connection between sleep and death, but not of the peaceful, natural atmosphere with a funeral.

“These are the Times We Live in”, by Imtiaz Dharker

In our Literature class we split into groups and had to work either on the poem  “These are the Times We Live in”, by Imtiaz Dharker or on “The Border Builder”, by Carol Rumens and make a questionnaire of six questions on it. I worked with Agustin and Pancho on “These are the Times We Live in”, by Imtiaz Dharker.

  1. Considering that Imtiaz Dharker is a Pakistan-born British writer, how far does the poem deal with cultural conflicts and prejudice?
  2. How far is the poem autobiographical?
  3. Words such as “passport” and  “flying” make up the semantic field. What does that semantic field suggest about the setting of the poem?
  4. What is the effect the voice creates by repeating “the times we live in”?
  5. “You shrink to the size of the book in his hand”, how does this quote help the reader have an idea of how the persona feels?
  6. “You could be offended”, why does the voice say this?

 

“To The Evening Star” – Analysis

The last post I made was about our presentation on ‘Soldier, Rest’, and now, in connection to the presentations each group had to make, we have to choose a stanza or a set of lines of one of the Romantic poems which OUR GROUP HAS NOT DELIVERED A PRESENTATION OF. Copy it and paste it here and show its connection with the hypothesis the class has harboured:

“The poems share a criticism to the industrial, urban, rational and bellicose society of the 18th century”.

 

I chose the following set of lines from “To The Evening Star”:

The fleeces of our flocks are cover’d with
Thy sacred dew: protect them with thine influence!
This set of lines were taken from the poem “To The Evening Star” by William Blake and they denounce the society of the 18th century in different ways.

Firstly, as we analysed in class, we realised that there are different elements of sexuality present in the poem. In these lines, the use of the word ‘dew’, makes reference to semen. And this opposes the morals of the 1700s since people only had sex at night as it was thought to go against morality. But in this case, William Blake is conveying it in a positive and natural way by portraying through it the finding of inspiration and knowledge. By using these images of fertility he is challenging society.

Secondly, there are images connected to nature. ‘Flocks’ and ‘dew’ are both visual images for the reader to have nature present by imagining sheep and wet grass. William Blake through these images shifts the focus away from the reality and from the industralization of the world to nature, since during Enlightenment less importance was given to nature. Consequently, he is reinforcing the importance of nature against society and criticising the irrelevance attributed to mother earth during that time.

Finally, ‘fleeces of flocks’ is a Christian imagery since in the Bible, the innocent people are depicted as sheep. This imagery criticises the society’s mentality since the poem is appealing to Venus, the evening star, who is the goddess of love, sex and fertility from the Pagan tradition. Therefore, this represents the Romantics support of pantheism, which was the belief in more than one god, and denounces society’s close mindedness.

Essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper” – Corrections + Conclusion

A few weeks ago I posted an essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper” that I had made with Agustin, and last class our teacher, Cecilia, gave us feedback on it and gave us instructions on how to write a conclusion. So here is our corrected essay with a conclusion:

The roles of men and women during the Victorian Times were very different. While men were expected to be educated and live a sociable life while working, women were expected to stay at home, take care of the domestic responsibilities and the children and were allowed to express only certain opinions as they were barely considered people. The women that appear in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, metonymically represent the women of the 19th century, although the three in very different ways: the perfect housewife, the oppressed wife, and the women rebelling against traditional morals.

     First of all, throughout the story Jennie, the narrator’s sister-in-law, is portrayed as the idyllic housewife of the time. She stayed in the house all day long and did everything that a man did not do at those times but that a woman was expected to do:, doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking for everyone, including the narrator, that in her situation could not do much. “She is a perfect, an enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession”. This quotation shows  the representation of Jennie as the ideal woman. She loved her role as a housekeeper and did not aspire to do anything else, since women were not supposed to.

     As regards the narrator, the author conveys through her the restrictions women used to have. But since according to John, her husband, she was “sick”, she was forbidden to do many more things, which left her with the ability to do only very specific activities, such as sleeping a lot, eating, reading, taking walks. Also, she was absolutely forbidden to work until she was well again. All these restrictions were supposed to make her recover her health. And at the beginning of the story, when she is explaining that her husband did not believe that she was sick, only that she needed to rest, she expresses “that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do [her] good”, which means that instead of just resting, she believed that being active would help her regain her strength. Nevertheless, she did not say anything. This clearly represents the oppressed women, and their submission to authority. In this case, such power of authority is anchored in her husband’s knowledge:“If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency – what is one to do?”. This quotation shows the power and superiority of men and their opinions over women’s and how the narrator did not have a voice of her own, if her husband said something was a certain way, then it was that certain way. And by using the pronoun ‘one’, it shows she is not talking just about herself, she is talking in behalf of the female community.

     Furthermore, by asking the question of “what is one to do?”, she is questioning her existence. Due to all these restrictions, she can not be who she really is. This causes her to supposedly start going mad. But in reality, she was not crazy, she was simply labeled as that since she started acting in a way that was out of the ordinary for women at that time. She started writing in secret, and she even tried saying that she was not recovering her health because her problem was not physical, but mental, which only caused John to scold her. He immediately told her reproachfully: “I beg of you (…) that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you trust me as a physician when I tell you so?”. This shows that to him, like most people, everything that one could not see nor touch was not real. Positivism did not support it and whenever someone tried defying that, they were viewed as crazy. The narrator believed that this made her husband “so wise”, when in reality, these beliefs showed ignorance. This problem of existentialism represents the women of the time that questioned and did not feel like they fitted society’s idea of women.

     Finally, the last woman that appears in the story is the one in the wallpaper. She is used to represent the women of the time that were trying to break free from the oppressive society. To describe her and her behavior the narrator says: “By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still”. In this quotation, there is a parallelism between her and the women that during the day, when they were out in public, acted in a restrained and low-key way as not to reveal their true selves and not to have to deal with society’s heavy opposition. And the pattern portrays this precisely, society’s opposition and oppression, which caused women to act that way. But at night, when she crept out of the wallpaper, she depicts the women that let go and allowed themselves to be who they truly were for a while. And they did it at night as not to be seen and treated as mad people. Therefore, as mentioned in the beginning of the paragraph, the woman inside the wallpaper represents the women rebelling against traditional morals, although secretly when no one could see them as not to be judged by society.

By virtue of the previous analysis, the women that appear in “The Yellow Wallpaper” metonymically represent the women of the 19th century. Jennie, John’s sister, represents what women were expected to act and be like at that time: the perfect housewife. The narrator portrays the oppressed women living behind the male figure’s shadow and authority and the women that felt like they did not fit into the restrictive and close-minded society. The woman trapped in the wallpaper depicts the women that secretly tried to break free from society’s oppressive views and were themselves without following the traditional rules.

Essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper”

In our Literature class we have been analysing the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and were asked to get together in pairs, choose a statement and write an essay on it.

I worked with Agustin and this is the essay that we wrote:

  • In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the women of the story metonymically represent the women of the 19th Century.

     The roles of men and women during the Victorian Times were very different. While men were expected to be educated and live a sociable life while working, women were expected to stay at home, take care of the domestic responsibilities and the children and were allowed to express only certain opinions as they were barely considered people. The women that appear in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, metonymically represent the women of the 19th century, although the three in very different ways.

     First of all, throughout the story Jennie, the narrator’s sister-in-law, is portrayed as the idyllic housewife of the time. She stayed in the house all day long and did everything that a man didn’t do at those times but that a woman was expected to do, which included doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking for everyone, including the narrator, that in her situation couldn’t do much. “She is a perfect, an enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession”, this quotation shows  the representation of Jennie as the ideal woman. She loved her role as a housekeeper and didn’t aspire to do anything else, since women weren’t supposed to.

     As regards the narrator, through her, the author conveys the restrictions women used to have. But since according to John, her husband, she was “sick”, she was forbidden to do many more things, which left her with the ability to do only very specific things, such as sleep a lot, eat, read, take walks, and she was absolutely forbidden to work until she was well again. All these things were supposed to make her get better. And even though she believed “that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do [her] good”, she didn’t say anything. “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency – what is one to do?”, this quotation shows the power and superiority of men and their opinions over women’s and how the narrator didn’t have a voice of her own, if her husband said something was a certain way, then it was that certain way. And by using the pronoun ‘one’, it shows she isn’t talking just about herself, she is talking in behalf of the female community.

     Furthermore, by asking the question of “what is one to do?”, she is questioning her existence. Due to all these restrictions, she can’t be who she really is. This causes her to supposedly start going mad. But in reality, she wasn’t crazy, she was simply labeled as that since she started acting in a way that was out of the ordinary for women at that time. She started writing in secret, and she even tried saying that she was not getting better because her problem wasn’t physical, but mental, which only caused John to scold her. He immediately told her reproachfully: “I beg of you (…) that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you trust me as a physician when I tell you so?”. This shows that to him, like most people, everything that one couldn’t see nor touch wasn’t real. Positivism didn’t support it and whenever someone tried defying that, they were viewed as crazy. The narrator believed that this made her husband “so wise”, when in reality, these beliefs showed ignorance.

     Finally, the last woman that appears in the story is the one in the wallpaper. She is used to represent the women of the time that were trying to break free from the oppressive society. To describe her and her behaviour the narrator says: “By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still”. In this quotation, there is a parallelism between her and the women that during the day, when they were out in public, acted in a restrained and low-key way as not to reveal their true selves and not to have to deal with society’s heavy opposition. And the pattern portrays this precisely, society’s opposition and oppression, which caused women to act that way. But at night, when she crept out of the wallpaper, she depicts the women that let go and allowed themselves to be who they truly were for a while. And they did it at night as not to be seen and treated as mad people.

“A Different History” – Essay

In our Literature class, the last poem we analyzed was “A Different History” by Sujata Bhatt. Therefore, we were asked to write an essay answering the following question:

  • Comment closely on how Sujata Bhatt reflects and explores on the ideas of ‘culture’, ‘values’, human struggle and religion.

Throughout “A Different History”, Sujata Bhatt deals with and reflects on various themes connected to the ideas of ‘culture, ‘values’, human struggle and religion.
Firstly, she depicts how she believes that many values have been lost due to the imposition and oppression of cultures. Although, throughout most of the first stanza, she focuses on one of India’s main value that wasn’t lost, which is the respect that people are supposed to have towards nature and literature. “You must learn how to turn the page gently (…) without offending the tree from whose wood the paper was made”, this quote shows a restrictive and firm side of Indian culture, that still stands, but thanks to the merge with other cultures, has become more flexible.
However, she focuses mainly on the loss of the native language, and does this by doing a memorable question in the second stanza: “Which language has not been the oppressor’s tongue?”. By asking this, she reflects on her own country and makes the reader think of their own situation. How nearly no country speaks their mother tongue, only the way of communicating that our ancestors were forced to learn. Besides, she is the living evidence of that. Being from India, but speaking English, is a clear example of how the British colonised the eastern country and imposed their own ways of living. In addition, the fact that it is a rhetorical question creates a bitter tone that shows how resentful she is about being deprived from her native identity.
Nevertheless, by naming Great Pan, a Greek god, she represents herself. This is because he, being half goat and half man, creates a parallelism with her, being half influenced by the Indian culture and by the English language culture. Therefore, she doesn’t only criticize the clashing of cultures, but recognises that culture and identity, are combinations. Combinations of what form us as people, either if it is different languages or religions that our ancestors passed on to us, or values that aren’t originally from our country, but that show our country’s history. This was also mentioned in the first stanza. How the influence of another culture, changed people’s stern perspective on how to treat nature and literature
Speaking of religion, by naming the latter god, and Sarasvati, an Indian goddess, she reflects India’s merge of religions. In the fourth line she expresses that “[there] the gods roam freely”, which conveys the country’s freedom to follow any belief that you want, which, during the colonial times, wasn’t allowed due to the oppression.
Finally, she finishes the poem with the idea of human struggle. She struggles with her identity because she is confused. She cannot possibly understand how, even though the conqueror has eradicated and ‘murdered’ the native language, “the unborn grandchildren grow to love that strange language”. However, this inner battle of confusion, disappointment and frustration comes to an end, because the fact that we’ve grown up to be proud of this language imposed to us, reflects how we have surrendered, the writer included as she acknowledges this acceptance on our behalf to worship this language.
In conclusion, the writer makes a lot of different points by dealing with the different themes. Such as the loss of values during the period of colonisation, the clash, imposition and oppression of cultures; the religious oppression that has been replaced by freedom to follow any belief, and the human struggle that is frustration, because of the incapability to speak our actual mother language, and confusion, because it seems impossible to understand how we’ve accepted this infliction of a different culture.

Continuum & The Woodspurge

The last two poems that we read were: “The Woodspurge” and “Continuum”. And while reading the last one in class, we found that it had some similarities to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem.

  • Both poems have similar tones: tormented, disturbed, gloomy, lonely, frustrated, conflicted, unclear; and in the end it turns into peaceful.
  • Both poems have themes in common: Man & Nature, Religion, nature and its power to inspire.
  • Both poems make reference to the passing of time: “The Woodspurge” – “My naked ears heard the day pass.” & “Continuum” – “A long moment stretches, the next one is not on time.”.
  • Both poems make reference to religion. In “The Woodspurge” because the voice is inspired by the cup of three which symbolises the Holy Trinity and that he felt connected to God; and in “Continuum”, in the 7° stanza the writer finally achieves creation, and God created the universe the 7° day.
  • Both poems deal with the topic of surrealism and reality. In “The Woodspurge” becuase his mind was lost and the flower brought him back to reality; and in “Continuum” in the quote that says “Not unaccountably the chill of the planking underfoot rises in the throat”, the fact that he starts feeling cold makes him come back to reality.