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The Love In Poem At Thirty Nine English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2812 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The theme in each of these poems is the same, love. But as mentioned earlier there are different types of love and it can be verified that these poems have different types of love present in them. Sonnet 116 talks about true love only and this is what Shakespeare seems to believe in. “Admit impediments. Love is not love. Which alters when it alteration finds,” This poem describes what true love should and shouldn’t be. Love for a lover should not change just because of a little hurdle. Lovers should forgive each other. On the other hand, La Belle Dame sans Merci speaks about unrequited love that a knight has for a fairy that he met. But in the morning when the knight “awoke, and found me here. On the cold hill side.” This tells us that the knight -who loves the stunning fairy, finds himself alone because the fairy has abandoned him. The type of love that is present in Poem at Thirty Nine is a very natural type of love… the love of a daughter for her father, this poem was written to remember him when he left this world, this quote shows us that “How I miss my father.” This line shows us that the author loves and misses her father who has passed away. It also conveys to us that she wants to go back to him. A poem with a similar theme is “A parent’s love” by Michael A Bostick.

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Along with the main theme of love these poems also have other themes. For example poem at thirty nine contains the theme of nostalgia.” How I miss my father.” In this line Alice Walker expresses her feelings, she states that she misses her father and she wants to go back in time to be with him. La Belle Dame sans Merci also has added themes in it such as abandonment and the supernatural.” And I awoke, and found me here”- we know that the fairy has abandoned the knight because he has woken up on the hill side and the fairy is not beside him. It can be interpreted the lady is a fairy because she lives in an “elfin grot” and speaks a “language strange. Additional themes are also present in Sonnet 116. They are loyalty and mortality. “Which alters when it alteration finds” in this quote we get to know that Shakespeare believes that true lovers should stay loyal to each other no matter what happens. Mortality is a theme of the poem because Shakespeare constantly refers to time as losing against love but death finally destroying it.

The structure of a poem helps a lot to enhance the meaning of it. For example, Poem at thirty-nine is a free verse poem with no rhyme scheme. This emphasizes on how her life perhaps got destroyed when her beloved father passed away-“How I miss my father!” This emphasizes on how much she misses her father as he taught her how to live and was with her through her life. On the other hand sonnet 116 has a very organized structure. This is probably because Shakespeare thinks that love should be very organized and well laid out. The poem is a traditional Italian sonnet with one octave and one sextet. The octave consists of two quatrains in which the argument about true love is introduced while in the sextet- which consists of a quatrain and a couplet, the argument is fully developed and a conclusion is made about it in the couplet,” Or bends with the remover to remove O no! It is an ever-fixed mark.”-in these two lines Shakespeare relates to how well structured true love is (just like the structure of his poem) that it is a mark that can never be moved. A different poem with a similar theme and structure is “Joy in desire more than desire of joy” by John Barlas. La Belle Dame sans Merci is a ballad as the title in the anthology specifies but more specifically a literary ballad. The rhyme scheme is abcb. In each stanza the first three lines are iambic tetrameter while the last line of each stanza is usually an iambic dimeter. Another thing to notice is that the last line in each stanza is significantly shorter than the other three. This poem is well structured and pleasantly rhymed to possibly reflect on the pleasant and good look of the beautiful fairy. “I met a lady in the meads, full beautiful…”- over here the author tell us that the fairy was beautiful and later on goes on to describe her well-structured physique. Another poem with the same structure and theme as La Belle Dame sans Merci is “Crying In the Chapel” by the extremely famous and well-known Elvis Presley.

The tone of a poem tells us a lot about how the author was feeling and how he wants us to feel. The tone in Sonnet 116 is strong and confident because when writing this poem Shakespeare was very confident about the fact that true love existed and what he is saying is true. We know this because of the poems proving couplet in the end, “If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.” In these lines Shakespeare tells us that he is so confident about his thoughts that if true love didn’t exist then the poem that is right in front of the reader has never existed. On the other hand, the tone in La Belle Dame sans Merci is somber and grief-stricken. Keats maintains this tone by using negative diction like,” woebegone, sighed, gloam, and alone.” This tone reflects the mood of the heart broken knight. Similarly, the tone in Poem at Thirty Nine is nostalgic and sorrowful. This tone is shown in this quote,” How I miss my father.” This quote tells us that Walker wants to go back to the past when her father was alive as she is sorrowful that he is not with her today.

Imagery and symbolism can reveal a lot about a poems’ message. A lot of symbolism and imagery is used in La Belle Dame sans Merci. The symbols and imagery used are flowers, seasons and dreams. Flowers are mentioned in the poem on different occasions, it is not the fact that flowers are being repeated that is important but the species of flower and its connotation that is. “I see a lily on thy brow.” When the knight woke up there is a lily on his forehead… in western culture lilies are associated with death which might lead us to believe that this is the end of his dream with the fairy and the fact the lilies are white tells us that he is not dying but is just sickly pale. Another species of flower mentioned is the rose,” And on thy cheek a fading rose.” Roses are associated with love and romance. But the rose on the knights’ cheek is withering which means that it is the end of the knights’ romantic relationship with the beautiful fairy. But like the lilies the rose is also describing the knights’ complexion as the rose is fading and so is the knights’ pale white cheeks. It is clear that the poem takes place in the middle of autumn and winter. There are a lot of clues that give it away. “Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,

and no birds sing.” In these two lines we know that the sedge which is a type of grass had dried out probably because winter is coming and there are no bird as the might have possibly migrated for winter. On the other hand, in the sequences with the fairy it seems that it is summer or spring because of all the reference to the flowers. Is this because the fairy controls the seasons or is it because the knights’ love for his gorgeous fairy makes him feel that it is summer or spring? Dreams are a key symbol in La Belle Dame sans Merci. The entire poem is almost like a dream or fantasy because of the mention of “elfin grots” and “fairy.” “Lulled” is a very sleepy-sounding word and is almost onomatopoeia. “And there I dream’d – Ah! woe betides! The latest dream I ever dream’d” The knight in these repeats the word “dream” 3 times which leads one to believe that he is actually saying that the sequences with the fairy was a dream. Some symbolism and imagery used in Sonnet 116 are navigation and time/age/death. Shakespeare points out to us that love is a guiding star.” O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark,” these three lines tell us that love is a guiding star that can’t be shaken by the forces of evil the try to destroy it to “wandering bark” will be lost forever. This is an extended metaphor and nautical imagery.” Within his bending sickle’s compass come: But bears it out even to the edge of doom.” In the poem time is the grim reaper with its “bending sickle” but in this battle love will win because it will not wither over time and will last till the lovers die. Only death can erase true love. Imagery and symbolism is also used by Alice Walker in her Poem at Thirty Nine. An example of imagery that is used in the poem is, “He cooked like a person dancing” this quote is an illustration of visual imagery which emphasizes the joyous and good characteristics of her father. There are two main symbols in the poem: fathers and young age. These two symbols are connected together because when you are a child your brain acts like a sponge and absorb all the information that it gets. This might determine what kind of person you will become as you grow up. “Just like him” this quote is evident that the poets’ father was a significant aspect of her childhood and she absorbed the actions that her father did and now she practices things exactly like her father. The other symbol is fathers. As we know in this poem the father of the author had a huge part to play in her young age. “He taught me that telling the truth did not always mean a beating” this quote is evident that the poets father was a good man because he taught his daughter to always say the truth no matter what the consequences are. We know because of this quote that the authors’ father is doing his job right.

Figurative language used in a poem can enhance the meaning and make a poem interesting to decipher. In Sonnet 116 two main types of figurative language is used, an extended metaphor and personification of time. “It is the star to every wandering bark” -earlier in the poem Shakespeare describes love as an “ever fixed mark” that will guide lovers together and will stop hatred but in this sentence Shakespeare clearly describes love as the north star because it is a navigational star the guides sailors the are lost or not home. By this he means that love is like the north star and like the north star will guide lost or not lovers home. The personification of time in the poem plays a big role in what Shakespeare means true love to be. “Love’s not Time’s fool” IN this line the author personifies time to be the grim reaper. Shakespeare says that true love should not become less with time even though “rosy lips and cheeks” go away and lose to time. The poet also mentions that only death can make true love disappear and that nothing else should have an effect on it. Alice Walker uses figurative language in her poem to emphasize a range of ideas and to give the poem a deeper meaning. “… telling the truth” alliteration is used in this line to emphasize the fact that the poets’ father is a good father because he is teaching his daughter the right things and that. The author uses positive imagery,” dancing â€¦meditation…good food” to emphasize the goodness in the fathers’ personality and doings. This also indicates the fact that the author herself has these qualities because her father had them. In the poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci figurative language is used to emphasize the beauty of the fairy and to show vividly the feelings of the knight. “Alone and palely loitering?” the alliteration of the L makes the reader feel the knight is sad and lifeless. The “lull” sound gives the audience a dull feeling and clearly shows how the knight is feeling. “I see a lily on thy brow …And on thy cheek a fading rose Fast withereth too.” This stanza is a metaphor that is comparing the knights’ complexion to the withering of a white lily and a rose. This implies that like the rose and the lily his complexion too is withering and becoming white because of what he has just been through. In this poem another metaphor is used to describe the beauty of the fairy. “Full beautiful – a faery’s child;” this line is a metaphor that compares the fairy who might just be a mortal to a fairy’s child. This emphasizes the beauty of the fairy.

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Love is the main point of these poems. They describe love, loved and lovers in different ways. Poem at Thirty Nine is a poem about family love-“I think of him.” This line suggests that the author of this poem misses her father a lot as he taught her how to live. She is now what she is because of him. Love, in this poem is described as a guiding figure- “He taught me” this tells the reader that Alice thinks her father’s love guided and taught her how to live and how to be. The loved one in Poem at Thirty Nine is Alice Walker’s father. “He would have grown to admire the woman I’ve become” this sentence proposes that Alice loves her father and tries to mimic his every action. She describes her father as a teacher. “He cooked like a person dancing.” She describes her father using a lot of positive diction and gives the impression that he was very gay and lively. The author refers to herself as the lover but in a daughterly way. She tries to explain that she wanted to imitate her father’s actions and has now succeeded. She also mentions that she is very proud of herself now- “Now I look and cook just like him.” Sonnet 116 is about a different type of love, true love- “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” this line tells us that Shakespeare thinks that true love exists. In the poem love is described in an extended metaphor as the North Star- “It is the star” Shakespeare tells us that he thinks love is the north star that will lead lost people home and toward their love. “Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.” He defines love as a feeling that does not have a value but the amount of love can be measured and only the highest amounts of love is true love. He also mentions that love cannot be affected by time even though looks go away over time- “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks.” The lover and the loved are not really present in this poem but some of their should be traits are revealed-“Or bends with the remover to remove.” This line cites that true lovers should learn to forgive and move on. On the other hand, La Belle Dame sans Merci is also about romantic unrequited love. “I set her on my pacing steed” this line is very erotic and is the major clue that this knight has romantic love for the fairy. “Alone and palely loitering” this is the major clue that leads us to believe that the fairy has abandoned the knight and now he is alone after having that wonderful time. The lover is described as a knight who is losing his complexion because of what has just happened to him- “And on thy cheek a fading rose” this sentence implies that the knight is losing his color just like the rose is losing its color and withering. The fairy, who is the loved one, is heavily described in the poem. “Full beautiful – a faery’s child; Her hair was long, her foot was light, And her eyes were wild.” Keats describes the fairy as very beautiful and even says that she is so beautiful that she might be a fairy’s child. To the knight the fairy is perfect looking but the only flaw is that she ditches him.

These poems have messages imprinted onto them by the author and it is the readers’ job to decipher it. Sonnet 116 has the message in it that true love really exists and it is present in this world. The message that is enclosed in La Belle Dame sans Merci is that you should never fall for people without knowing them properly. The message in Poem at Thirty Nine is the importance of your father in your life.

In conclusion all these poems have evidences of love in them and the hypothesis stated before has been approved. There are different types of love present in these poems. Love is an important part in everyone’s life and no one can go through life without it. Love makes one comfortable and makes them feel safe and secure.


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