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John Keats: 'To Autumn' - Essay Example

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Jeffrey Rozenberg Prof Diberdano December 11, 2011 John Keats: “To Autumn” John Keats was an English romantic poet in the early 1800s. One of his best works “To Autumn” is both beautiful and lyrical, the words creating an entire scene painting a picture in our minds of great imagery with words that create color, tone, and environment…
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John Keats: To Autumn
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Download file to see previous pages The construction of the poem as a piece of language art has been done with skills that are surprising and inventive. While it is easy to interpret the poem from a static point of view, the deeper meanings open the poem to an interpretation that reflects movement through the lifespan and movement through time. In this paper I will attempt to demonstrate how the poem creates deeper meanings through carefully constructed phrasing and a creative use of word choice. . In reference to the poem “To Autumn” by John Keats, Nemoianu claims that it is sometimes not as often studied because there is a general interpretation that “there (was) a lack of balance between substance and message” (Nemoianu 205). Nemoianu counters this claim by stating, “the older view of the poem as a static portrait of autumn seems to have been discarded in favor of an interpretation stressing process or movement” (Nemoianu 205). Static poetry is sometimes not seen as poetry, but as prose that has adopted a poetic form. Poetry can either be static or dynamic. Static poetry tells the whole story and leaves little to the imagination of the reader while dynamic poetry tells hints of the idea and allows the reader to fill in what can be imagined. While “To Autumn” might seem to create all of the imagery, Nemoianu shows that this is not true as the transitions in the poem open up interpretations by the reader. As an example, where the first stanza is about the organic nature of the fruit and vegetation, the second stanza brings in the human element as the imagery begins to form around elements of the farm. The human element is suggested in phrasing such as “Thee sitting careless on the granary floor” and “Or by a cider press with patient look”. Nemoianu uses this to show that Keats has transitioned from the purely organic to the human space in order to create a sense of connection which is dynamic as it makes the reader create this connection. The first four lines discuss the life cycle relationship of the sun to the vines, the ripening of the apples creating a feeling of the crisp air of the autumn as the sun is dampened by the mists. Patterson discusses the syntax of this section as the decoding of this section requires the participation of the reader as the grammatical norms are flaunted. Patterson states “Poetic syntax, then, bridges the vexing gap between form and its perception” (449). Movement occurs in the arrangement of words as well as in the arrangement of imagery, which can lead the reader to understand the poem from a dynamic point of view. The first stanza is a long group that is defined by its focus on objects, the whole defined by its sense of organic control (Nemoianu 207). The first stanza is an example of the brilliance of Keats. Patterson states that “Keats's first stanza is one extravagantly long noun phrase without a main verb” (450). Keats defies the standards of English writing in creating a feeling of a complete sentence when it is not complete which suggests that he is trying to defy the rules of grammar without creating an awkwardness that most incomplete sentences leave with the reader. There is a bit of rebellion in the poem, which can also be interpreted for the rebellion that a human being will make against aging. It works, even though it should not, and man ages, but tries to avoid aging. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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