Presentation on theme: "Tone, Symbol, and Figurative Language"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tone, Symbol, and Figurative LanguagePoetry Analysis 2 Tone, Symbol, and Figurative Language

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2 Tone For a Lamb Richard Eberhart I saw on the slant hill a putrid lamb, Propped with daisies. The sleep looked deep, The face nudged in the green pillow But the guts were out for crows to eat. Where’s the lamb? Whose tender plaint* Said all for the mute breezes. Say he’s in the wind somewhere, Say, there’s a lamb in the daisies. * (complaint; lament) Uses contrast (shift) between life and death, innocence and destruction. It is realistic and resigned; its tone is wistful but not pessimistic. The speaker is a realist who can also draw some consolation from death. Wistful: “Lamb” is associated with youthfulness, innocence, and perhaps in a Christian sense, sacrifice. The shock of the word “putrid” is then somewhat softened by “nudged” and “green pillow,” then brought back to the stark realization that the lamb is food for scavengers. The second stanza takes a more philosophical view of this stark reality, hoping that the lamb is still “somewhere” in the wind; he is both lying in the field, and will, through natural processes, become part of the daisies that grow there.

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3 Another poem that is concerned with the natural process of death and that contrasts innocence and destruction. However, this one has a decidedly grim, perhaps savage tone. The lamb may have died in its sleep, but this flower is beheaded and nothing in nature seems to notice. Even the flower, itself, is not surprised. Furthermore, God, the creator of both the flower and the frost, approves. The associations of the word “assassin” are terror and violence, and this murderer is not dark, but “blonde” (light) – unexpected? The fact that the death is accidental brings no solace, and perhaps adds a level of fear of the random nature of death. While the lamb in “For a Lamb” is no less dead, its juxtaposition of life and death suggests a sense of continuation and beauty. This poor flower has no such promise. Apparently with no surprise Emily Dickinson To any happy Flower The Frost beheads it at its play— In accidental power— The blonde Assassin passes on— The Sun proceeds unmoved To measure off another Day For an Approving God.

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4 Literal vs. Metaphorical or Allegorical MeaningsDust of Snow Robert Frost The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued. Soft Snow William Blake ( ) I walked abroad in a snowy day; I asked the soft snow with me to play; She played and she melted in all her prime, And the winter called it a dreadful crime. First line could be real experience, but it departs from there to metaphorical or allegorical -- snow (symbol of innocence) =personified “she” who invites attention of speaker; she “melts” and “winter” (symbol of age; could = society?) condemns. Relates real experience, interaction, change of mood

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5 Crossing the Bar Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)Night and setting out on the ocean are representative of death; symbols of death. The fact that there are signs (sunset, evening star) and that he is called – clearly – to return to the “boundless deep” (eternity) or “home” at the “twilight” and “evening bell” suggests a long life and the “dark” (death) that follows appears part of this plan. There is a sense of assurance of peace here. The speaker asks for no lamentation or sadness, and to “embark” suggests a journey rather than an end. The speaker expresses hope to see his (a sense of familiarity) “Pilot face to face” (closeness) after death. Expresses Tennyson’s belief in immortality and its tone is joyous. Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea. But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home! Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For though from out our bourn of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.

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6 Hint: If you are asked to compare two poems, do not spend time fully explicating both in your essay. Start with a two-column list or a Venn diagram and to find a starting point. In your essay, discuss the similarities and differences – but focus MORE on the differences.


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It is assumed the similarities will be a little more obvious.

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