introduce literary terms: dialogue, motif, imagery, tone.
We will discuss the posts on Sawday from Tuesday's class, especially in relation to Marvell's poem "A Dialogue", and we will
answer any questions raised by the library orientation and in reference to the paper due on Sept. 19. Then we will discuss
two poems by Marvell.
Notes and Discussion Questions:
1. Andrew Marvell
I've asked you to focus on two very different poems by Marvell to emphasize his range of subject and poetic control. For
both, I would like you to analyze the tone of the poems. Marvell's tone is elusive, and it is key to understanding the
complexity of the poems.
Dialogue between the Body and the Soul
As with all the poems, try to identify answers to the same set of questions we brought to Donne's poem:
what does it say? Who is the
speaker? What is the occasion? What is the purpose? How does it achieve the purpose?
In this case we have two speakers. Who are they? What are they discussing?
Why might the "dialogue" be an appropriate form or genre for this poem? What philosophical issues does the poem address?
We will pick up our discussion of this poem with the posts from Tuesday that discuss Sawday's reading.
"To His Coy Mistress"
Note the use of hyperbole in the first stanza. What is the effect of these statements? What does this stanza
establish as the subject of the poem? Note also the role of time and space "world enough and time" and examine
how the poem develops around these motifs.
How does the poem change at line 21? As suggested in Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" the theme of memento mori
(a reminder that we shall all die) leads to something of a carpe diem theme (seize the day). What is the relationship
between these two themes? How does Marvell present these themes in the two remaining stanzas?
Note the imagery used to describe the lovers in the last stanza: amorous birds of prey, devouring time, rolling
all pleasure and sweetness into a ball that tears "with rough strife" through the "iron gates of life". How seductive
is this picture? What is the tone of this final stanza?
Given the ambivalence of the poem, what do you think the purpose of the poem is? (Note: not everyone will agree on this.
Please offer some analysis of the poem in support of your answer.)
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