- After reading the lecture, answer one of the main questions, which will appear in bold type. This question is due no later than Thursday, October 19. 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, October 22. Remember: in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 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 :)
More details, with sample questions and answers, can be found on the Discussion Board itself, under the heading "Info on Discussion Questions." Please read this carefully so you know how to get the most points for the discussions.
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:
T. S. Eliot thinks Matthew Arnold's poetry is seriously flawed: "Arnold's poetry...is academic poetry in the best sense; the best fruit which can issue from the promise shown by the prize-poem..." He sees Arnold as an educator, rather than a poet, arguing that his poetry is wooden, immature, and moralistic. Do you agree? Explain.
- In "Isolation: To Marguerite," the narrator says that even though he was far away from Marguerite, he "bade my heart more constant be. / I bade it keep the world away..." Why does he repeat "bade"?
- When he says, "And faith may oft be unreturned," why does he choose to use the word "faith" instead of "love"?
- In the third stanza, whom is he addressing?
- When he says, in the third stanza, "...never yet without remorse / Even for a moment didst depart / From thy remote and sphered course..." what is he implying?
- Why should the narrator's heart feel shame?
- Why compare what the narrator's heart feels with what Luna felt? In other words, why compare his feelings with those of a mythic character?
- Is the narrator "alone"?
- What roles does Nature play in this poem and in the narrator's life?
- Do the "happier men" of whom the narrator speaks in the last stanza experience true love?
- In "To Marguerite--Continued," how does the narrator extend his own loneliness to a universal condition?
- How does he use the metaphor of islands and the ocean to emphasize his point?
- Why does Arnold mention nightingales, specifically, in stanza 2? Is he deliberately evoking an association with Keats? If so, what is his point?
- Who ordered the isolation of the islands (i.e., the human beings)?
In the "Conclusion" to his essay, The Renaissance, Walter Pater says, "To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." Do you agree?
- In the first paragraph of the "conclusion" to The Renaissance, Pater says that physical life is "but a combination of natural elements to which science gives their names." What is he implying about the nature of human life?
- He also points out that these elements can be found in other natural objects as well as our bodies. What is he implying about the relationship between humans and nature?
- In the second paragraph, he says, "the whole scope of observation is dwarfed into the narrow chamber of the individual mind." Explain what he means.
- In the following sentences, he expands on that idea, carrying it further. What conclusions does he draw about the reality of human experience?
- What do his conclusions imply about permanence or security?
- What do his conclusions imply about the stability of "the self"?
- What does he mean when he says, "Not the fruit of experience, but the experience itself, is the end"? How would Victorians such as Dickens or Tennyson feel about that statement?
- What does Pater say about habits?
- When Pater says, "Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing of forces on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening," what does he mean?
- What is the purpose, according to Pater, of philosophical theories or ideas?
- According to Pater, since time is fleeting, how should we spend it?
- What, in Pater's opinion, is the role of Art?
Some critics like the way Hopkins makes up words to suit the message and style of his poems; others dislike it. What is your opinion on this issue?
- What does Hopkins mean when he says "Glory be to God for dappled things"?
- In the first stanza, Hopkins gives several examples of "dappled" things. Why include man-made objects in the list with natural objects?
- In the second stanza, he asks "(who knows how?)" Why is this question included?
- Why does he include opposites in the second stanza?
- What is the one thing in the poem which is unchanging?
- "Spring and Fall" is dedicated "to a young child." Do you think Hopkins really meant for it to be read by young children?
- What is "Goldengrove unleaving"? How is "unleaving" a play on words? That is, how does it mean two opposite things at the same time?
- Reword lines 3 and 4 in more conventional syntax; how does that alter the meaning of the lines?
- What does he mean when he says, "...as the heart grows older / It will come to such sights colder..."? How could the word "colder" have more than one meaning?
- What does he mean when he says "Sorrow's springs are the same"? What are they? Why will she weep at the sight of the fallen leaves, even after she's seen the same sight for many years?
- What thought is it that "Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed"?
- What is "the blight man was born for"?
- What does he mean, "It is Margaret you mourn for"? How can she be mourning for herself?
- What is significance of the title of the poem? We see the fall, in the fallen leaves; but where is the spring?