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@jagatuba, if you can, could you help me out? Our conversation really helped me out yesterday. This is related to the same poem as yesterday. I'm just trying to get a clear idea of the poem in my head.
So first tell me what exactly is your assignment so I know what we are shooting for here. I was under the impression that you just needed to state the theme of the poem. Now I'm getting the impression that you need to write a short essay answer. Give me the exact requirements that your teacher is looking for and we'll go from there.
Its an oral presentation where I have to talk about the theme, the poetic devices used by the author and the general understanding that I got from this poem. For this we are to use a technique called TF TASTI: Title, Facts, Techniques, Attitude, Shifts, Title, Idea. I have copy and pasted what I have for my TF TASTI right here: Title: - The author is questioning whether Pathetic Fallacy is true or false Facts: - Narrator The author: Elizabeth Brewster - Other Characters No - Where In author’s birthplace: New Brunswick - When When author was a young girl + now (when author’s older) - What Pathetic Fallacy; nature; at first narrator thought that nature had human attributes, then someone told her otherwise, but now she still sometimes “feels” these human attributes in inanimate objects Techniques: - Personification - Cacophony - Euphony - Pathetic Fallacy - Hyperbole Attitude: - Naivety as a child - As she grew older, she lost the naivety, and believed that Pathetic Fallacy was false - Then in old age, now she believes in Pathetic Fallacy again - So as you grow older, you lose your innocence, but then in your old age, you’re like a child again.... (This is where Im having a hard time coming to the conclusion) Shifts: Title: - The author describes being able to “feel” the stones and wind as if they had human emotions and attributes. Then the author says that they were told that it was all a lie and that you cannot “feel” stones and wind as if they were living. Then later, the author describes that even after being told this, she can sometimes “feel” the atoms stir in a chair. So it goes back to her questioning whether pathetic fallacy is true or not. Idea: - Naivety to reality - Fantasy vs Reality - Innocence lost to old age - Pathetic Fallacy - One's perspective will keep changing throughout their life. As a young child, one has a very innocent mind and believes everything they see, but as you get older one's sense of wonder decreases because you've experienced so much more and learnt of the harsh realities of life. - Sometimes we can come to value the little things in life, and those are the ones that we have brought along with us since we were young. Sometimes we might be strayed away from these little things we brought along with us oin our life journey due to certain circumstances and influences around us but in the end we will still go back to these old ideas of ours. - The poem is about how we lose the naivety of childhood. How things no longer seem alive like they did when we were kids, but also how a part of us tries to hold on to that: Nevertheless sometimes lately when I touch a chair or table I think I feel atoms stir under my fingers and at night in dreams I hear the small remote voices of grains of dust or the inaudible whispers of stars as they will speak to me some time That even as we age and become serious adults we long for and reach out for that child naivety. Much of the ideas that I have here are from what we talked about yesterday. This is just rough, I'm working on writing out my presentation right now, so of course I wont be taking all of this word for word and putting it in my presentation.
This is what my assignment is word for word: Explain why you have chosen this poem - be specific about what aspects of the poem intrigued you. Describe what you feel is one of the main themes in the poem. Examine three of the key features of this poem (refer to three of the literary terms from the Figurative Language topic). Identify the features and provide an explanation as you why you think the poet used these particular features. Include specific information from the poem to support what you have to say. Finally, finish your response with two critical questions that demonstrate your in-depth analysis of the poem. Be sure to refer to specific lines of the poem when you are posing your questions. Remember that critical questions should not be vague nor can they be answered with a yes-or-no answer.
Title - does this help you predict what the poem might be about? Facts - what are the facts you have been presented with in this poem? Techniques - think back to the different types of figurative language terms you read about earlier in this unit - how are those used in this poem? Attitude - what attitude is presented in this poem? Shifts - what is the significance of the shifts between stanzas? Title - what is the significance of the title now that you have read the poem? Idea - what is the main idea you get from this poem?
First of all @shay88, I apologize for not getting to this last night. I had another user I was helping at the same time and one of my explanations was a bit lengthy, then a marathon homework session with my son, then dinner, then my homework, and by the time I got done I was ready for bed. So sorry for leaving you in the lurch. Okay now with that out of the way . . . Thanks for the detailed posts and what you have so far it really helps to understand where you are coming from and what you are doing. So if I understand right you want a little more discussion on the poem so that you can get a better understanding of it and perhaps help woth your conclusion. For this I'm going to bring in a second brain because having yet another perspective on the poem might give you even more ideas so that you can formulate a better understanding of the poem. Her name is @Redwood Girl While she is giving you her perspective on the poem, I can be Jotting down some tips for your conclusion. Hang tight.
Of course, poetry was never my strong point. Shay, in terms of techniques (starting there, since that's the question I saw yesterday), I think you should address the metaphor that accompanies the personification. Ex: the clumsy, roaring wind stepped on the flounched pink dress of the apple-tree The wind "stepping" is of course personification, as you have identified. But what about the "flounced pink dress" of the apple tree? That's metaphor. But certainly it is personification that drives the poem: everything is alive in it, and that's the point. As for cacophony and euphony, were they on the sheet your teacher gave out of techniques of figurative language? I think of them as falling more into the realm of sound -- along with alliteration, onomatopoeia, and so on. In terms of the narrator's stance -- and be careful of aligning the narrator simply with the author -- could it be that the child is in fact not simply naive, but more in tune with the world around her? More aware of the awe, the mystery, the life force? This attitude reminds me very much of Whitman and Wordsworth, who wrote also of that identification with nature. The poem reads to me like a criticism of the pathetic fallacy. In life, at any rate, if not in art.
So, I'm looking up Elizabeth Brewster and it looks to me like she would have come of age in the era when the pathetic fallacy was taken very seriously and writers were schooled to avoid it at all costs.
@shay88 You want your conclusion to be brief, especially in an oral presentation. Your conclusion will probably be different than a typical conclusion which recaps the main points. You are covering a lot of ground in this presentation so you don't want to bored the audience with a full recap of what you covered. What I would do in this case is pick a couple of what you think are the more important or interesting points you made and open them up for further discussion. So I would start the conclusion with your general interpretation of the poem being sure to mention a few of the key points from what you have presented. Then with the points you desided are more interesting or important, open them up by offering an alternative view of them. In other words, point out on these points a view different than the one you presented in the main part of your presentation, and close by opening the topic for questions and discussion (i.e. "what do you think?"). This might not be the greatest idea if everybody is presenting the same poem because the topic is going to get run into the ground, but it will still work if there are just a few people giving the same presentation.
Because I am unfamiliar with this method -- TF-TASTI -- I looked it up. http://www.adlc.ca/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=454&Itemid=152 So from this, I would take a slightly different tack if I were you. Following this outline, how does the title forecast the contents of the poem for you? How does it set up your expectations? What does it prepare you for? As for the facts, who are the other characters? There are many, are there not? The stones, the sand, the wind, the apple tree (arguably), the clouds, the brook, and so on. You yourself have said that the poem contains elements of personification -- in fact, personification drives this poem, from start to finish. It follows then that all these personified elements act as characters in the poem. They are what is alive. As for where, can you say that this is taking place in New Brunswick? Why? What is there in the poem to suggest that? It takes place, at first, outside in the open air. In nature. It shifts later indoors. (But you might want to address that primarily in the section on shifts.) The portions when the narrator is a child are outdoors. The portions where the narrator is presumably an adult are indoors. I think that's significant. Then, when tracks, as you say, two times. The childhood portion is retrospective of course. Now, what is happening . . . is this how your teacher presented the "what"? Your "what" seems to address a different question. Techniques. Personification is the heart and soul of the poem. It is supported by the use also of metaphor, in the imagery of the various characters. Hyperbole? Hmmmm, do you see that jagatuba? I know someone told you that the lines "I think I feel atoms stir / under my fingers" were hyperbolic, but I'm not seeing that. This looks to me to fall right in line with personification, down to the very atoms that make up what we ordinarily think of as inanimate (that is: not living) objects. That's how powerful the life force is in this poem. Then, for attitude, I see you laying out a sort of plot for the poem, rather than exploring the poet's attitude (as seen through the vehicle of her narrative).
Now in shifts, this is going to be key. There is a shift in location, right? There is a shift in age. What other shifts are there? When you address the title again, in its second appearance in this rubric, you need now to comment upon the prediction you made upon first seeing the title, before you had ever read the poem. I'm not seeing that. Instead, I see you explicating something about the poem again, laying out its "plot" as it were. Then for idea, I see a splintering of thought here. What is the poet's MAIN idea, do you think?
And here is what Ruskin (who invented the term and the concept "pathetic fallacy") had to say about it -- http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/ruskinj/ He says of poetic images that attribute thought, feelings, or sensations to nonliving or nonhuman things that the images may be ery beautiful, but they are untrue. Thus he calls it a fallacy. And he says this fallacy is of two kinds: either it is willful fancy, or it is the product of an overly excited, irrational mind. So, in other words, we read into the world our own feelings. I think most of us would agree on this point -- that we read into the world our own feelings, that we see in it reflected what we feel -- but I doubt we would excise it from our art on these grounds as would Ruskin. I think the poet is responding directly to this point of Ruskin's. Is it the living world she perceives? And her poetry seems to suggest yes.
But you could argue that she leaves that question unresolved . . .
Good input @Redwood Girl Thanks. As for hyperbole: No I do not see hyperbole used. Hyperbole is a literary device that is used to emphasize (over-emphasize) a point being made; "The anticipation was killing me." I read the poem twice more looking for hyperbole in even the loosest sense of the term and found nothing. Also, I'm uncertain if cacophony was implemented in this poem. Cacophony is usually use to describe a mixture of something, especially loud and conflicting or unharmonic sounds. While there are certainly several references to sound in the poem none of them are cacophonic (is that even a word? lol). However, cacophony can be looked at another way. Cacophony does not always have to be linked with sound. When appraising a painting I could justifiably say that the artist used a cacophony of styles or colors. So in this sense you could say that Brewster used a cacophony of imagery. She creates a mixture of confliction imagery. Slipping sands Roaring winds Tearing to shreds Gravelly song Warm brown girl Atoms stirring Voices of dust Whispers of stars Living grass All of these things combine into a cacophony of imagery within the poem that, much like a cacophony of alarm bells, both startles and almost overwhelms the reader. What do you think Red?
RE: Ruskin Ruskin's views came out in the late 19th century. This was the beginning of the age of technology. Therefore, his observations (IMO) were heavily tainted with scientific notion. His views were more along those of a scientist rather than an artist, and many in the feild of literature disagreed with his view that pathetic fallacy was an artistic mistake. In fact, many classic and accomplished writer's would not have been so without the use of this literary device; Shakespeare would be a good example. I agree with you @Redwood Girl that Brewster was was indeed in a way addressing Ruskin's assessment, but that she was also thumbing her nose at the suggestion that using pathetic fallacy is an artistic mistake.
On cacophony, I am uncertain. I have always associated it with a tumult, and not a pleasant one. I could see extending it beyond sound to apply to images, but these images seem to me to be overall too integrated to be cacophonous. But I am not well versed in this sort of thing when it comes to poetry. I feel the *energy* in the poem, but I think I would look to concepts of alliteration and onomatapoeia to explain this effect.
And that's a good comment with respect to Ruskin, both in terms of the nature of his views and how those view were accepted. I think Brewster is critiquing his view as well, and finding it wanting. When she says -- All false, all wrong, somebody told me: winds are not lovers clumsy or gentle and so on, I do not think we're meant to take that critique as truth. I think we're meant to see the world as she sees it. I think she's showing us that world.
Oh geez, I was away for one day and I come back to so much feedback and thoughts. Thank you so much @jagatuba and @Redwood Girl. I am reading through this right now, and will probably comment on this soon.
Uh . . . Yeah. About that. We kinda got into a discussion between ourselves regarding your assignment. Sorry. However, it's all good stuff, which is why I didn't delete any of it. :)
Hahahaha... Yeah, and that in itself has helped me out a ton! I'm a little jumbled up though now because I thought that there was cacophony and euphony both present, but you guys both dont totally think so. So now I'm a little bit confused. These are definitions that my teacher gave me for both: Cacophony Cacophony is the use of harsh, unpleasant sounds; words like jagged, bloodshot, and damned. Euphony Euphony is the use of light, harmonious words. Examples would include words like lilt, silvery, and bathe. and yes they are listed under the sound devices along with repetition, onomatopoeia and alliteration. @Redwood Girl, just for reference, the terms other than ^ those that I was given are: Allusion, Paradox, Synedoche, Metonomy, Apostrophe, Hyperbole, Personification, Metaphor and Simile
In terms of cacophony and euphony, my understanding is that they both fall into the realm of sound. For that reason, I do not think of them as figurative language, not in the same category as, for example, allusion or paradox or any of the other terms in your list. All of those terms have to do with *meaning*. Euphony and cacophony have purely to do with sound. It seems to me a more fruitful approach would be to think in terms of onomatopoeia, where the word mimics the sound it represents. I think the poem is full of that -- some of them are euphonic (pleasant), some of them might be termed cacophonous (harsh or grating). The reason I think that this approach is more fruitful is twofold. First of all, you are now dealing also with the *meaning* of the words: they sound like what they mean. Second of all, this approach to word selection dovetails nicely with the personification that imbues the poem with life. See what I mean? Have you taken a look also at the TF-TASTI link I posted? Going by this rubric, your responds to several of the items in the TF-TASTI list miss the point. You ought to go back through your responses with this worksheet in hand. I've also gone through your responses and remarked on each.
Yes, I am currently in the process of going through my TF TASTI and revising and redoing it with the help of that link and your suggestion. THANK YOU SO MUCH for that! It's really helpful and will help me a ton in my future assignments as well. In terms of taking that approach with Onomatopoeia, that's interesting and I certainly didn't think about that. So for that, and example (from the poem) would be: "the hoarse old grave" Right? So then, that makes a lot more sense than Cacophony and Euphony. I guess I was originally getting confused because I thought that there was definitively some sort of sound related devices, but it never came to my mind to think about Onomatopoeia. Basically though, the poem is definitely mostly full of personification and that's what allows the poet to make the poem come alive in front of the readers' eyes and allows them to connect with the poet and feel what she was feeling when she wrote the poem.
Oh, excellent! I'm so glad! Looking over that worksheet sure clarified the approach for me. Yes, I think going with onomatopoeia (good gosh, do you struggle with spelling that one each time? I do) will get you a lot further. You could even incorporate the ideas in of the other two, briefly, if you wanted, just noting that some sounds are soothing and pleasant and others not. But if you did that, you'd want to make sure it was more of an aside. Don't lose focus with it. Because the real point is that you FEEL the poem more fully this way, it evokes sight and sound in a way that dovetails. The earth, the sand, the brook, the trees -- these come alive through words that both create images and create the sense of those images breathing before us, as it were. Is the personification all sight imagery? Or does the sound imagery come into play here as well? That's something you might want to take a look at as well, for that portion of the discussion. It's a lovely poem. I'd never heard of this poet before. Now I'm going to look for more of her work!
Hahaha... Yeah :) Thanks a ton for that!!! Onomatopoeia is a really hard word to spell, you're right. I have to say it out loud many times to be able to spell it right. Thankfully Safari also has spell check! Moving on though, I think I understand your point now and I honestly never would have been able to do all of that work and thinking by myself so thank you so much @jagatuba and @redwood girl. I REALLY APPRECIATE the help! As for personification, I think that its both visual and sound imagery that Elizabeth Brewster has tried to put together in harmony in her poem. I will sure to keep those suggestion in mind while I write out my oral presentation. :) It really is. :)