Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Essays Part 2

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

1980 Poem: “One Art” (Elizabeth Bishop)
Prompt: Write an essay in which you describe how the speaker's attitude toward loss in lines 16-19 is related to her attitude toward loss in lines 1-15. Using specific references to the text, show how verse form and language contribute to the reader's understanding of these attitudes.

attitude 1-15: doesn't care, material things don't matter, jaded, 
attitude 16-19: still not serious, loss still easy, "look like" a disaster
verse form: anaphora "The art of losing isn't hard to master.", repetition "disaster", rhyme -ent or -er
language: colloquial, things people generally lose, things getting bigger and bigger

To Elizabeth Bishop, losing things is no big deal. There's a slight inconvenience, but nothing disastrous can become of losing something. "One Art" is a poem about how losing things is easy because we have the mindset to lose. 

In the first fifteen lines, Bishop describes how she loses things on a daily basis and becomes jaded by the thought of caring. Material things don't matter to her. Bishop's anaphora of "The art of losing isn't hard to master." shows that she thinks losing is easy and unimportant. She repeats "disaster" throughout the poem, saying that one never happens by losing. She mentions losing items such as keys then graduates to bigger and more important items like cities and countries, still uncaring.

A shift happens between lines fifteen and sixteen to the end. She becomes more reflective and regretful. Once she has told of the loss of cities and countries, she tells of the loss of "you". This is the biggest loss of all. Although it "may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.", Bishop is still adamant that losing is temporary and insignificant. She still says that "The art of losing isn't hard to master", meaning that it was just as easy to lose "you" as any other object, but she thinks of "you" as more than an object by admitting it's a small disaster.

Bishop conveyed that losing is easy. Anything can be lost without serious consequence. She could lose anything in the world without a care, but when she lost "you", she acknowledged her emotional attachment.

Saturday Essays Part 1

"To Helen" Poe
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand,
Ah! Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land! 

"Helen" H.D.
All Greece hates   
the still eyes in the white face,   
the lustre as of olives   
where she stands,   
and the white hands.   

All Greece reviles   
the wan face when she smiles,   
hating it deeper still   
when it grows wan and white,   
remembering past enchantments   
and past ills.   

Greece sees unmoved,   
God’s daughter, born of love,   
the beauty of cool feet   
and slenderest knees,   
could love indeed the maid,   
only if she were laid,   
white ash amid funereal cypresses.

The following two poems are about Helen of Troy. Renowned in the ancient world for her beauty, Helen was the wife of Menelaus, a Greek King. She was carried off to Troy by the Trojan prince Paris, and her abduction was the immediate cause of the Trojan War. Read the two poems carefully. Considering such elements as speaker, diction, imagery, form, and tone, write a well-organized essay in which you contrast the speakers’ views of Helen.

symbolism-"Helen": white, pale, cool, wan, all death. "To Helen": shore is home, Helen is home, lamp is welcoming
imagery-"Helen": sickly, dead, pale. "the wan face when she smiles; white ash amid funereal cypresses" "To Helen": beautiful, longing, praising, grand "How statue-like I see thee stand, The agate lamp within thy hand,"
tone-"Helen": hateful, disapproving, "Greece sees unmoved; hating it deeper still" "To Helen": "That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,

Helen's beauty is irrefutable, but "Helen" and "To Helen" portray her beauty very differently. "Helen" describes her beauty as her tragic flaw, causing the downfall of Greece; her sickly appearance trying to seduce countries to follow her. "To Helen" describes her beauty as physical and spiritual. She is portrayed as warm and welcoming and a great reward for returning home. H.D. and Poe portray Helen's beauty oppositely through use of diction, symbolism, and imagery.

H.D. hates Helen. He thinks her beauty caused the downfall of Greece. He speaks of her with hateful and disapproving words. He states that all of Greece hates her for her beauty and the chaos and destruction she has caused. He says that the only way Greece will approve and love her as the Romans do is when she is dead. With words such as "hate", "reviles", and "unmoved", H.D. shows his contempt for a woman who uses her beauty to cause wars. Poe thinks highly of Helen. By using "brilliant", "glory", "grandeur", and "perfumed", Poe expresses his regard for Helen. Everything else is wonderful when she is near it.

Symbolism is critical to H.D. and Poe in describing Helen. In "Helen", images of white and pale signify death. Helen is depicted as creepy and omniscient, smiling over the people of Greece. The people want her feet to be cool for lack of oxygen. She is white as ash laying in a casket. "To Helen" has completely different symbols for Helen, symbols of comfort and home. Helen is holding a lamp, showing she has been waiting for Menelaus to return. Her beauty has lead him home from sea, back to his native land. 

The imagery in the two poems are starkly different, given the two views of Helen's beauty. "Helen" gives images of ominous doom with Helen looming over her subjects. She is sickly-looking and pale like death. In "To Helen", Poe shows splendor and luxury because of Helen. Helen has made Greece and Rome grand because of her beauty. His home is more rich because her presence graces it. The reader sees a weary traveller coming home after a long voyage to the beautiful country that is Helen.

H.D. and Poe gave opposite opinions of Helen's beauty. Both admit it was life-changing and undeniable, but Poe was more appreciative of her blessings. H.D. despised Helen for her beauty by his use of ugly words to describe her and her reign, the color white to symbolize the want of death, and ominous imagery to show her corruption. Poe, on the other hand, spoke of Helen with uplifting words and admiration, gave her warm and comforting attributes, and made everything around her seem fantastic. The two poets' literary techniques furthered their opinions by creating and elaborating on their strong viewpoint.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Poetry Groupthink

Well, in class, all I did was talk to Preston because my group was in one of two categories: absent or didnt do the charts. I needed help with connotation analysis so I went to Preston. We talked about how the ocean is always a metaphor and how declarations of love are larger than life and hope is the key.

I'll update this post if my group decides to be useful.