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Reading Responses to a Poem - Essay Example

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Reading Responses to a Poem Date Reading Responses to a Poem The poem that will be discussed in this essay is “Amazing Grace” by John Newton (Newton, n.d.). This poem was chosen because it has a universal appeal and its message touches almost everyone’s heart…
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Reading Responses to a Poem
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The content speaks of salvation that God gives to people who have “lost their way”. It gives hope to people who are undergoing difficulties in their lives. One is encouraged to hang on to God’s grace despite the trials and tribulations that one experiences in life. The message evokes feelings of hope. Faith and trust in God is a message emphasized in the hymn. The language used by the author is very powerful. He uses words that are easily understood yet they are enough to stir up one’s emotions. The message that the author wants to convey is clearly manifested in the language that he used. His poetry was an evocative response to the tragedies that he experienced. Newton’s language is a perfect example of a “language which refines ideas and feelings” which penetrates deeply the readers’ inner selves (Chapter 9 - What is poetry?). The author also makes use of figurative language such as the last two lines of the first stanza, “I was once lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.” (Newton, n.d.). The words “lost”, “blind”, “found” and “see” were used not in its literal sense; rather, the connotations of the words were employed. Newton describes himself as “lost” and “blind” to connote that he did not know where his life was headed. He was in a quandary with regards to the path he has to take. The words “found” and “see” meant that he finally felt the grace of God and was enlightened and brought to the right path. Newton also made use of figures of speech in his hymn to make it more appealing. He made use of personification in the first line of the second stanza, “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear” (Newton, n.d.). The “heart” was portrayed as a person who feared. On the other hand, a simile was used in the last stanza when Newton compared the “earth” with “snow”. It is also observed that Newton used symbolism in his poem. He used the word “grace” to symbolize “God’s unmerited favor to lost souls” (Hansen, 2002). One notices that in the first three stanzas, he used the word “grace” but in the last stanzas, he became more specific and used “Lord” and “God” to put emphasis on his message. “Amazing Grace” is a poem which uses rhyme. One observes the pattern ABAB in all the stanzas of the poem. Except for the third stanza where “snares” does not rhyme with “far”. As in most hymns, Newton used the common meter. His stanzas consisted of four lines each, with the first and third lines having eight syllables or four iambic feet while the second and fourth verses have six syllables or three iambic feet, that is, 8-6-8-6 (Lost hymns project, n.d.). In the case of “Amazing Grace” the speaker in the poem or the persona is one and the same as the author. The lines of the hymn are very applicable to John Newton’s life. The hymn is based on Newton’s conversion from a slave trader to an abolitionist. The lines that Newton used were very reflective of what he felt about the day when he faced a violent storm and how God has touched and delivered him. In the first stanza, Newton recalled how a “wretch” he had been. On the other hand, in the second stanza he referred to the grace that he had received from God which turned his life around. Newton was effective in engaging poetic expression in describing his experiences and the emotions he felt during those times. The elements of the poem mentioned above made one appreciate the Read More
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