Renoir Young Girl Reading

Directions:

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board


Byron Link

A number of critics feel that as a poet, Byron, although talented, is inferior to Wordsworth. They argue that even in his masterpiece, Don Juan, his gift is storytelling rather than illumination or insight, and that the style and depth of his lyric poems can't compare favorably with Wordsworth's. Do you agree? Explain.

  1. In "She Walks in Beauty," what rhyme scheme and meter are used? How does this style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  2. How does Byron use light and dark imagery in the poem?
  3. How does Byron use nature imagery in the poem?
  4. Is there any irony implied in the poem? If so, where?
  5. In "January 22nd. Missolonghi," what rhyme scheme and meter are used? How does this style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  6. How is nature imagery used in the poem?
  7. How are images of death and imprisonment used in the poem?
  8. What is the speaker's attitude toward death?
  9. What is the speaker's attitude toward the battle?
  10. What is the speaker's attitude toward love?
  11. In "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," what rhyme scheme and meter are used? How does this style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  12. In early Arthurian legends, the knight is a virtuous, brave hero. Is that the case with Childe Harold (at least, in Canto 1)?
  13. Why does Childe Harold choose to leave England?
  14. How does Byron use wit and humor in "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"?
  15. How does the style of Canto 3 differ from the style of Canto 1? Do you find it more or less effective?
  16. How has Childe Harold's attitude about himself changed from Canto 1?
  17. How is nature imagery used in Canto 3?
  18. Compare the ideas about aging and wisdom in Canto 3 with the ideas in Wordsworth's "Immortality" ode; how are they similar? How are they different?
  19. In what way is Childe Harold meant to be an analogy to the poet? (See stanza 6, especially.)
  20. What is this Canto saying about poetry, then? What is it saying about the poet? About the act of composition? About the purpose of poetry?
  21. What does line 72 ("And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim") mean?
  22. Why does Byron choose to show Childe Harold at Waterloo?
  23. How do Byron's revolutionary views appear in this poem?
  24. Does Childe Harold seem to see any redemption or hope for himself or human beings in general?
  25. How does Switzerland affect Childe Harold?
  26. Why does Byron choose to end Canto 3 by speaking to his daughter? What is the effect of this approach on the reader?
  27. In Canto 1 of Don Juan, what is the narrator's attitude? How is the tone established?
  28. Don Juan contains a great deal of humor and wit; what purpose do they serve in this poem?
  29. How does Byron satirize the old chivalric heroes of legend?
  30. How does the style (rhyme scheme, meter) complement the subject matter of the poem?
  31. Who are the women in Don Juan's life? What are they like?
  32. What is Don Juan's education like? What is Byron implying about the ate of education in England? About British attitudes toward education and knowledge?
  33. Why, in stanzas 202 and 203, odes the narrator insist that his account is accurate?
  34. In stanzas 204-206 and 222, what is the speaker's attitude toward the other Romantic poets?
  35. In stanza 207, the speaker defends the morality of his work; is he serious or satiric?
  36. In stanzas 213-220, he laments the loss of his youth; is he serious or satiric? Do you hear any echoes here of Wordsworth's "Immortality" ode?

Shelley Link

A number of critics feel that Shelley's poetry appeals mostly to adolescents, because, as J. A. Symonds said, "...the larger bulk of his poetry is...immature." Others disagree. George M. Ridenour, for example, defends Shelley, arguing that it is the critics themselves who are at fault: "But what we call maturity often seems to be made up of equal parts of cowardice and exhaustion. We finally give up our own insistence that the world be a human world and then make fun of people who are still working at it. We tell them they are immature...One of Shelley's great values for us is a fine childlike intransigence, an unwillingness to settle quickly for less than what men really want." Based on the limited number of poems by Shelley that we have read in this class, which side of this argument appeals to you more?

  1. In "Mutability," what rhyme scheme and meter does Shelley choose? How does this style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  2. How does Shelley use dark and light imagery in the poem?
  3. How does Shelley use nature imagery in the poem?
  4. Is the tone of the poem happy? sad? melancholy? optimistic?
  5. According to the poem, how do one's memory, imagination, and perception affect events?
  6. According to the poem, how does the past influence the present?
  7. In line 13, Shelley says, "It is the same!" What is the same?
  8. In "Mont Blanc," how does Shelley establish, at the beginning of the poem, the relationship between material things and the mind?
  9. When Shelley says, " ...where from secret springs/The source of human thought its tribute brings/Of waters,--with a sound but half its own," what does he mean?
  10. What rhyme scheme and meter does Shelley choose for "Mont Blanc"? How does that style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  11. What purpose is served by the nature imagery in this poem?
  12. What is Mont Blanc's "power"?
  13. When Shelley looks on Mont Blanc, he does not see the work of God; in fact, the sight confirms his atheism. What lines tell you this?
  14. What is the relationship between the mountain and Shelley's imagination?
  15. When, at the end of the poem, Shelley refers to "The secret strength of things/Which governs thought..." what does he mean?
  16. What is the tone of the poem?

Keats Link

One of the most debated passages in English literature is the ending of "Ode on a Grecian Urn":
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Some critics argue that Keats is being sarcastic; others argue that he really means that truth and beauty are synonymous. How do you interpret the poem's ending? And are truth and beauty synonymous?

  1. In "Ode to a Nightingale," what is the speaker's state of mind at the beginning of the poem? How does the song of the nightingale affect it?
  2. How is the speaker's imagination affected by the nightingale?
  3. How are sorrow and joy aligned in the poem?
  4. What other "opposites" does Keats use in the poem? How does he use oppositions to make his points?
  5. What does the speaker imagine is the difference between human life and the bird's life?
  6. What is the role of the poetic imagination ("Poesy") in the poem?
  7. How does imagery of color, light, and darkness function in the poem?
  8. What is the relationship between the material world and the imagination in this poem?
  9. Why does the speaker say, in line 55, "Now more than ever seems it rich to die"?
  10. When the speaker calls the bird "immortal," what does he mean?
  11. How, in this poem, are the material and the immortal related?
  12. What does the speaker mean when he asks, at the end, "Do I wake or sleep?"
  13. What are the rhyme scheme and meter of the poem? How does that style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  14. What are the rhyme scheme and meter of "Ode on a Grecian Urn"? How does that style complement the subject matter of the poem?
  15. What "opposites" does Keats use in this poem? How do the oppositions help him make his points?
  16. How, in this poem, does Keats explore the potential and the limitations of poetry and the poetic imagination?
  17. Why does the speaker ask so many questions in the poem, and then leave them unanswered?
  18. What does the speaker mean when he says, "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/Are sweeter"?
  19. How is the inanimate nature of the urn both its weakness and its strength?
  20. How are time and immortality related in this poem?
  21. What is the relationship between sound and silence in this poem?