I don’t understand this English question and need help to study.
19th Century Poets
Please post a brief response (no less than 300 words each) to at least one of the three prompts, by Sunday, 22 June. Please create your initial posts by creating a “Reply” to the prompts I’ve given and then label your response with an author and title (e.g. ‘Dickinson’s “I heard a fly buzz”‘ or ‘Whitman’s “Song of Myself”). Later next week, go back and review the responses of some of your classmates.
1. English Romantic Poets and Nature Worship
Pick one of the assigned poems by Wordsworth, Keats, or Shelley, and discuss the relationship the poet establishes with the natural world in the poem. How does the poet, representing humanity, interact with nature in the poem? What is he saying about the meaning of (capital N) Nature? Alternatively, compare the representations of Nature from two of the poems – or compare the work of Dickinson as a Natural poet to these slightly earlier English poets. Be sure to use a quotation or two in your discussion to help your classmates follow along with you as carefully read the poem.
2. Keat’s Grecian Urn
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” is a famous and difficult poem. Discuss the meaning of this poem by picking a stanza (or more than one) and trying to detail exactly what is happening in that stanza. Or you could address one of the more arresting images in the poem and try to come up with some reasons why you think this image might be important (for example, what is Keats talking about when he calls the urn, in the first sentence, an “unravished bride of quietness”?) and what it means in terms of the larger poem.
Or you could just go straight for the main prize: just what the hell is Keats talking about when he says that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”? Again, use a quote or two from the poem in your post.
2. Whitman and Dickinson
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are often thought of as representing the two poles of Modern American poetry, between which American poetry developed. Dickinson’s lyrics are short and compact, while Whitman’s poetry is longer, often narrative, and epic. But both share modern elements, in sharp contrast with more traditional poetry, which might be represented by a poet like the Englishman John Keats. What kinds of elements do the poems Whitman and Dickinson have in common? How are they alike? How are they different? How do they differ from the work of (relative) traditionalists like Keats? Use quotes in your discussion to make your points clear!
3. Whitman and American Identity
Walt Whitman is strongly identified with America. What is Whitman’s vision of America? How does he see America as being distinct from any other place? How does America manifest itself in Whitman’s poetry? How does Whitman imagine himself as an “American poet”? Pick a section of “Song of Myself” to discuss in particular, with one or more of these questions in mind and, as usual, use a quote or two to support your discussion.