CODeL ASSIGNMENT COVER 2018
APPROACHES TO POETRY ANALYSIS LEN 3631
Assignment no (e.g. 1, 2 or 3, etc.).
a) Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poem “How do I love thee” Is one of the greatest love poems in the world. As seen from the title to the last line of the poem, the poet speaks about the unconditional, extraordinary, and unstoppable love. Therefore, the theme of this poem is nothing other than love. In the poem “How do I Love Thee” Elizabeth Browning expresses the eternal nature of love and its power to overcome everything, including death. Line 1 serves as the poem’s introduction and in it the poet uses a simple question, “How do I Love Thee?” to capture the reader’s attention. The remainder of the poem serves as an answer whereby the poem’s speaker counts the ways she loves her object of love. The repetition of “I love thee” serves as a constant reminder, but it is the depth of love, not the quantity of love, that gives the poem its power: She loves. for example, “the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach,” and “To the level of every day’s / Most quiet need.” The ultimate expression of her enduring love occurs in the last line which states that her love will be stronger “after death.” In this poem, Elizabeth talks about two different types of love. The first one is that of humans and the other one is that of God for his creation. https://www.brighthubeducation.com/homework-help-literature/62766-how-do-i-love-thee-analysis/
b) Diction is defined in literature as the distinctiveness of speech, the art of speaking so that each word is clearly heard and understood to its fullest complexity and extremity, and it concerns pronunciation and tone, rather than word choice and style. In addition, Poetic diction can also mean linguistic style, Vocabulary and metaphors used in poetry. The poem “How do I love thee” by Elizabeth Barret Browning uses a romantic diction to communicate with the audience.This sonnet helped kick-start many more on the theme of modern (Victorian) love, from a woman’s perspective. Note the emphasis is on the repetition and reinforcement of the speaker’s love for someone; there is no mention of a specific name or gender, giving the sonnet a universal appeal.
The first line is unusual because it is a question asked in an almost conversational manner – the poet has challenged herself to compile reasons for her love, to define her intense feelings, the ways in which her love can be expressed.
There then follows a repetitive variation on a theme of love. To me this conjures up an image of a woman counting on her fingers, then compiling a list, which would be a very modern, 21st century thing for a female to do.
This poem comes from another era however, a time when most women were expected to stay at home looking after all things domestic, not writing poems about love.
The second,third and fourth lines suggest that her love is all encompassing, stretching to the limits, even when she feels that her existence – Being – and God’s divine help – Grace – might end, it’s the love she has for her husband Robert that will sustain.
Note the contrast between the attempt to measure her love with rational language – depth, breadth, height – and the use of the words Soul, Being and Grace, which imply something intangible and spiritual.
Her love goes beyond natural life and man-made theology. These are weighty concepts – the reader is made aware that this is no ordinary love early on in the sonnet. The clause, lines 2-4, contains enjambment, a continuation of theme from one line to the next.
Is she suggesting that the simple notion of love for a person can soon flow into something quite profound, yet out of reach of everyday language and speech?
The speaker, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning continues with her passionate need to differentiate the many ways her love for her husband manifests. In line five she clearly tells the reader that, be it day or night, her love fills those quiet moments, those daily silences that occur between two people living together.
Her love is unconditional and therefore free; it is a force for good, consciously given because it feels like the right thing to do. She doesn’t want any thanks for this freely given love; it is a humble kind of love, untainted by the ego.
The sestet starts at line nine. The speaker now looks to the past and compares her new found passions with those of the old griefs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning had plenty of negativity in her adult life – she was mostly ill and lived like a recluse, seeing only old family friends and family.
Her father in particular oppressed her and wouldn’t allow her to marry. There were no romantic relationships in her life by all accounts. She must have been driven to the point of willing herself dead. Little wonder that when Robert Browning came along she was given a new lease of life.
In contrast her childhood had been a happy one and it’s this she refers to in the second half of line ten. A child’s faith is pure and innocent and sees fresh opportunity in everything.
Turning to religious feelings in line eleven, the speaker refers to a lost love she once had for the saints – perhaps those of the christian church, of conventional religion. Or could she be looking back at the saintly people in her life, those she held in great regard and loved?
She suggests that this love has now returned and will be given to her husband. In fact so stirred up is she with these innermost feelings she goes on to say in line twelve, with just a dash to separate – this returned love is her very breath. Not only that, but the good and the bad times she’s had, is having, will have – this is what the love she has is like. It is all enveloping.
And, in the final line, if God grants it, she will carry on loving her husband even more after she dies. Thus, her love will go on and on, beyond the grave, gaining strength, transcendent.
C) Poetic form refers to a poem’s physical structure; basically, what the poem looks like and how it sounds. Elements like the poem’s type, stanza structure, line lengths, rhyme scheme, and rhythm express its form. Together, content and form make meaning, which is the message the poet gives to the reader. This Petrarchan sonnet has fourteen lines, the first eight being the octet and the final six the sestet. At the end of the octet comes what is known as the turn, more or less a subtle change in the relationship between the two parts.
In this sonnet the octet is basically a list set in the present that reflects a very deep love; the sestet looks back in time and then forward to a transcendent love, which helps put the whole work into perspective.
The rhyme scheme is traditional -abbaabbacdcdcd – and the end rhymes are mostly full except for: ways/Grace and use/loose/choose. The full rhymes bring closure and help bind the lines together. Iambic pentameter is dominant, that is, there are ten beats and five feet/stresses/beats to most lines, for example: “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height/My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight”
In Line 1: The speaker begins by posing a question that the entire sonnet will go on to answer: “How do I love thee?” It’s interesting that the interrogative word here is “how,” rather than “why” or “when.” This is not really a rhetorical question, because the speaker does answer it, but it operates in a similar way to rhetorical questions because it introduces the poem and gets the reader thinking.
Lines 2-4: The speaker uses a spatial metaphor to describe the extent of her love, comparing her soul to a physical, three-dimensional object in the world. These three lines also introduce a lot of sound play into the sonnet. In line two, three words have a “th” sound, and a fourth word (“height”) comes close. These breathy syllables soften the line, making it more difficult to fit it into a traditional iambic pentameter rhythm. In fact, throughout the poem there’s an excess of “th” sounds, some of them voiced (like the “th” in “thee”) and some of them unvoiced (like the “th” in “depth”). It might be interesting to think about how the two different kinds of “th” sounds fall into patterns in the poem.
In lines three and four, the poet uses assonance, repeating long “e” vowel sounds in words like “reach,” “feeling,” “Being,” and “ideal.” This repeated long vowel sound adds a brighter, livelier quality to the poem. It also reminds us of what the speaker calls the beloved – “thee.”
There’s also an internal rhyme between the word “feeling” in the middle of line three and the word “Being” in the middle of line four. This extra rhyme, along with the rhymes at the ends of the lines, ties the poem together more tightly.
Lines 5-6: These are some of the only lines in this poem that use concrete imagery – “sun and candle-light” – and even then, it’s only images of different kinds of light, not necessarily definite objects. Even more so than other poems, this is an extremely abstract, vague lyric that seems to take place out of this world.
Lines 7-9: These lines use anaphora, beginning with the same phrase, “I love thee,” as do lines two, five, and eleven. This parallel structure emphasizes that the poem is in many ways a catalog or list of ways of loving, rather than an extended argument or scene like some other poems.
Lines 12-14: We can’t help but think that claiming you’re going to love someone “better after death,” whether it’s your death or their own, is something of a hyperbole. https://www.shmoop.com/how-do-i-love-thee-sonnet-43/love-symbol.htmlQuestion 2
David Mandessi Diop was an African poet born in France on 9 July 1927. His father was from Senegal, while the mother was a Cameroonian. Diop was raised by his mother after the father’s death. He attended primary school in Africa, and then during the second world war Diop attended Lycée Marcelin Berthelot in Paris. He worked as a teacher in Dakar and then as a secondary school principal in Kinda. David Diop became a poet at a tender age, and then he continued with this in his youth years. In 1960, Diop and his wife were returning from France where they lived to Dakar when the plane they boarded crushed in the Atlantic. This accident took both his life and that of his wife. In his poems, Diop highlights the challenges faced by Africa then, and Africa now. In addition, he also gives a message of hope to his African families, by telling them that one day Africa shall be free, and her people will enjoy freedom. He condemns the colonialists for the underdevelopment of Africa, for they uprooted her riches during the years she was under colony. He also alerts the people in governments that one day the sleeping men that they are exploiting, robbing shall rise to high prominence and they shall be stricken.
In his poem “Africa” we realise that Diop had two versions of Africa that he spoke about, one being the Africa before colonisation which he only knowns from the songs sung by his grandmother. “Africa of proud warriors in the ancestral savannas, Africa that my grandmother sings of beside her distant river”. This poem show that it was written by an African patriot who was supposed to have lived in a distant country. “Africa, my Africa” This is the first line of this poem and it tells the reader that, despite living in France, Diop could not change the fact that he was a black man from africa. He adds by saying the blood that was in his body was African to show the reader that he was a proud African living in a foreign land. In the second stanza downwards, the poet uses an angry and accusatory tone “Your beautiful black blood spilt over the fieldsThe blood of your sweatThe sweat of your toil The toil of your slaveryThe slavery of your children”. In these lines the poet blames the colonialists for using black people to irrigate white farms without paying them. Therefore, in the following lines the poet urged black people to stand up to the humiliation and pain that they suffered in their own motherland, reminding them of the strength and pride they have in them. The poet used personification from the last line of first stanza to the last line of second stanza “my gaze is full of your blood,
Your beautiful black blood spilt over the fieldsThe blood of your sweatThe sweat of your toil The toil of your slaveryThe slavery of your childrenAfrica, tell me AfricaAre you the back that bendsLies down under the weight of humbleness?The trembling back striped and redThat says yes to the sjambok”. He stresses the need to say no to the whips of the colonial masters who make them work under the hot midday sun leaving ugly scars on their backs. Despite this suffering the narrator urges Africans to be strong and resist being broken by the heavy weight which colonialism symbolises.
Tone- There are several tones used in the poem of Africa, by David Diop. The first is PROUD. The tone used is proud because the persona of the poem has been calling out the name of his motherland. He called it several times to give emphasis to the word and he even
claimed it using the word “my” even though he never been there and only heard about
it from the song of his grandmother. He described it as the land of proud warriors of ancestral savannahs. Second, the persona is GRIEVEING
. He’s feeling a poignant grief because of what happened to his motherland… he mentioned in his poem that the people in Africa had
been colonized, slaved, humiliated and tortured for a long period of time by the ruthless and merciless colonizers. Lastly, the third tone used in the poem HOPEFUL. The persona is hopeful that someday Africa will bit by bit emancipate from the control of other people. That someday they will triumph in acquiring the bitter taste of liberty.
Poem Title: Africa
Poet: David DiopTheme: Emancipation
Reviewer: Chilaka Ngozi
David Mandessi Diop was one of the most promising French West African poets known for his contribution to the Negritude literary movement. His work reflects his hatred of colonial rulers and his hope for an independent Africa.
David Diop was born in Bordeaux, France of a Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother. He had his primary education in Senegal. He started writing poems while he was still in school, and his poems started appearing in Présence Africaine since he was just 15.Several of his poems were published in Leopold Senghor’s famous anthology, which became a landmark of modern black writing in French.Though died in a plane crash in 1960, but memories of him will never be forgotten adding to his thought provoking work of art in the poem he titled “Africa”.
The poem Africa suggests an undoubting sense of pride in African decent, the sorrowful acknowledgement of the suffering of a nation and the anticipation of imperceptible freedom. It focuses on the new beginning of Africa. This poem celebrates the beauty of Africa before slavery colonialism and the eventual neo-colonialism which Africa has continued to suffer from in a most contemptuous manner. We are reminded as an African that our great grand fathers were proud warriors even though the Whiteman in his capitalist tendencies of massive acquisition of wealth has dealt a blow on our pride, economy and mentality.”Africa my Africa/Never have I known you/ but my glance is filled with your blood”. Though the Author has never ever gotten the fill of African trauma, but he has his grandmother to thank for educating him on the African experiences.
The poem no rhyme scheme. The words and the symbolism in this poem are simple but very powerful at the same time. This poem is a childhood dream, that of the author who felt deeply African in his soul yet very distant as he “never knew Africa”. He never set foot on African soil, but he did know all about the humiliation” slavery, colonisation” suffered by Africa thanks to his grandmother. The title of the poem depicts a tie between a child and its mother” Africa, my Africa” through the possessive pronoun. The Africa narrated to the author by his grandmother was a bliss of nature itself soiled by sufferings inflicted by others. This contrast of beauty and horror is everywhere in the poetry. The landscape of Africa made of rivers, savannah is none other than a kind of heavenly place, yet there is blood, and this blood is dark. “A healthy blood is red, while a poisoned one is thick and dark “. The blood is described as beautiful but it is sadly dark. Yes Africa is the dark continent by the colour of its inhabitants but Diop finds it beautiful and it has been darkened by force labour under the whip. In its form this poem is about juxtaposing contrasting realities, in its first movement “.
The poet uses as much as possible simple language to express himself in flow of words and these words mean a lot in the translation of the poem. Unlike other poems that use complex language to convey their message, Africa uses simple language to express itself. The poet in addition makes the poem more meaningful by adding some literary devices and figurative expressions. Such literary devices include alliteration, personification, rhythmic pattern and imagery.
However the most important message of the poem is that Africa must break way from its apparent resignation to suffering. The tone here is high, it is grave as in line 19 “But a grave voice answers me”. The voice referred to here is none other than his conscience that tells him to rebel against the acceptance of the whip in line 18 “And saying no to the whip under the midday sun”. Yes Africa must push away vigorously with persistence despite the hurdles on the way to taste the flavour of freedom. Here again the apparent contradiction between “bitter” and “taste of liberty” in the last line of the poem re-enforces the conviction that nothing dare comes without its price, the struggle.
For those who see this poem as a hope message , I say yes but it is more about breaking away from bondage. Remember this poem is a tribute to Africa and a negritude poem, it is an anthem of struggle by an African whose dream of seeing Africa with his own eyes never came true, but He never felt any less of an African.
This poem tells our story now in a prophetic way. It is a manifestation of the pain of getting cut-off from our roots mainly for economic and political reasons. It makes us more than ever to believe that there is still hope that Africa can be at par with the rest of the world
The poem teaches us to love Africa more because we now have the assurance of hope on our side, no matter how difficult situations may be. Diop’s poems are all brilliant, but this one is particularly poignant. It’s actually amazing how prophetic this poem was, especially for its time. Diop is a really exceptional poet and this poem captures the essence of the reason why man must appreciate his race and origin.
One only hopes that the founding fathers of each country that constitute Africa can look back with pride what Africa has turned to via their own labour, ideals and sacrifices. The current leaders now have greed, hate, corruption and all evils flowing in their veins. But just like Diop said, we are waiting patiently as the fruit acquire the bitter taste of liberty. God bless Africa, the land of my birth.
This is a must read for everybody irrespective of your racial background especially for an African man who does not appreciate the fact that they are black and will want to do anything to change their skin colour and also for non African indigenes who have been colonized in their countries before or who feels deprived of their culture.