- After reading the lecture, answer one of the main questions, which will appear in bold type. This question is due no later than Thursday, March 8. Following that will be other questions, in black, which you should read and think about--they may help you answer the main question. However, you are not required to answer these questions in writing.
- Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, March 11. Remember: in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 3 or 4 other people's postings. This set of discussion questions is worth a possible 20 points.
- Late answers and responses receive 0 points, so post early :)
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:
Some critics say that Tennyson is really Romantic; others class him firmly with the Victorians. Look at his attitudes, style, and subject matter; based on the works of his we have read, with which group would you place him?
- In "The Lady of Shalott, each "Part" ends with a line of dialogue; why?
- What does the curse forbid the Lady to do? Why do we never find out exactly what the curse is?
- The Lady sees other knights; how is Lancelot different from the others? Why does she fall in love with him?
- Is the Lady's perception of Lancelot accurate?
- The Lady sees Lancelot reflected in both the mirror and the river; why is this significant?
- How are the river and the mirror contrasted in the poem?
- Why does the Lady die upon the river?
- Is the Lady's love good or destructive?
- How does Tennyson's ambivalence toward death reveal itself in this poem?
- How does Tennyson's ambivalence toward the imagination reveal itself in this poem?
- How is the Lady's bower in some ways a metaphor for Eden (Paradise)?
- What happens when the Lady leaves the bower? How can this be perceived as a metaphor for the loss of Eden?
- What is Lancelot's reaction to the sight of the Lady in her boat?
- In "The Epic [Morte d"Arthur]," what do those gathered on Christmas Eve discuss?
- Why is it significant that they are gathered on Christmas Eve? Would the message of the poem have been the same if it had been set on any other night?
- The narrator mentions the parson complaining about the decay of Faith; does the narrator agree with the parson?
- Why did Everard burn all but one book of his epic on King Arthur?
- What is the significance of the narrator's dream of Arthur's return? Why would Arthur be dressed "like a modern gentleman"?
- Why do the voices say, "Come / With all good things, and war shall be no more"?
- In In Memoriam, to whom is the "OBIIT" addressed? How does it set the tone of the poem?
- How is Nature imagery used in the poem?
- How is Tennyson's ambivalence about death expressed in this poem?
- How does the narrator feel about expressing his grief so openly? Why does he do it? When he says, "But, for the unquiet brain, / A use in measured language lies..." what does he mean?
- How much does the narrator trust his memory?
- In section 50, when he says, "Be near me...," to whom is he speaking?
- In section 54, the narrator wants to have hope and faith; does he convince himself?
- Does the narrator feel the same way in section 131?
- In "The Charge of the Light Brigade," what tone does the narrator set? Is he proud? Dismayed? Sarcastic? For example, how are we supposed to take the lines, "Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die"? Is the narrator being straightforwardly admiring, or sarcastic?
1. One of the characteristics of the Victorians is their tendency to feel that poetry should be used to teach a moral or social lesson. Do you think Browning does this in his poetry?
2. "Meeting at Night" and "Parting at Morning" were originally intended to be one poem, called "Night and Morning." While he was preparing Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, in which the poem appeared, he did not send this poem to Elizabeth Barrett Browning to read, as he did the other poems in the volume. Why not, do you think?
- In "My Last Duchess," the speaker is Ferrara; to whom is he speaking?
- When Ferrara says, "There's my last Duchess painted on the wall," what does he mean, i.e., what is he showing his "audience"?
- Why does Ferrara hide the Duchess's painting with a curtain?
- According to Ferrara, what caused "that spot of joy" on the Duchess's cheek? How does Ferrara feel about it?
- When he says, "She had / A heart--how shall I say?--too soon made glad..." what does he mean?
- Does he accuse the Duchess of being unfaithful to him? If not, what was her "crime"?
- Why does the Duchess's "joy" offend Ferrara?
- What does Ferrara mean when he refers to "stooping"? Why does he refuse to do it?
- When he says, "This grew; I gave commands; / Then all smiles stopped together," what does he mean?
- Is the Duchess still alive? How do you know?
- With whom is Ferrara negotiating? For what?
- Why would he be telling this person the story of the Duchess?
- In "Meeting at Night," how does the narrator describe the landscape?
- How does the narrator travel?
- Where is the narrator going? Who is there to greet him?
- What are the implications of the "tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch"?
- Explain what the narrator means when he says, "And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears, / Than the two hearts beating each to each!"
- How can the descriptions in this poem be read as sexual metaphors? (Think, for instance, of the "pushing prow" slowed by the "slushy sand.")
- A "childe" was a candidate for knighthood, and thus, according to the traditions of chivalry, was virtuous, brave, loyal, and above all, faithful to God. The traditional Arthurian quest was for adventures, victories both physical and spiritual, and, finally, for the Holy Grail. Does the narrator of "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" sound as if he fits this mold?
- Why does the poem begin with a reference to Edgar from Shakespeare's King Lear?
- Why does Childe Roland turn toward the Dark Tower, even though he knows that the cripple is misdirecting him?
- Does Roland hope for success? Why is he so happy to be coming to the Dark Tower?
- What has Roland been searching for all these years?
- How does the description of the light and the landscape complement the tone of the poem?
- Why does everything disappear as soon as he turns into the road to the Dark Tower? Why, specifically, does it become a "gray plain"?
- How is Browning's use of Nature imagery different from the Romantics'? (Or is it?)
- What is the symbolic significance of the horse Roland sees?
- Do Roland's memories comfort him on his journey? Why not?
- What is the symbolic significance of the river Roland crosses? What other mythic or religious connotations does the river have?
- What does Childe Roland see when he arrives at the Dark Tower? Why does he go on, nevertheless?
- Is Childe Roland heroic?
- How do Childe Roland's decisions and actions compare with those of the soldiers in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"?