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Analysis of Keats’ To Autumn

Analysis of Keats’ To Autumn

John Keats’ poem To Autumn is essentially an ode to Autumn and the change of seasons. He was apparently inspired by observing nature; his detailed description of natural occurrences has a pleasant appeal to the readers’ senses. Keats also alludes to a certain unpleasantness connected to Autumn, and links it to a time of death. However, Keats’ association between stages of Autumn and the process of dying does not take away from the “ode” effect of the poem.

The three-stanza poem seems to create three distinct stages of Autumn: growth, harvest, and death. The theme going in the first stanza is that Autumn is a season of fulfilling, yet the theme ending the final stanza is that Autumn is a season of dying. However, by using the stages of Autumn’s as a metaphor for the process of death, Keats puts the concept of death in a different, more favorable light.

In the first stanza, the “growth” stanza, Keats appeals to our sense of visualization. The reader pictures a country setting, such as a cottage with a yard full of fruit trees and flowers. In his discussion of the effects of Autumn on nature, Keats brilliantly personifies Autumn. A personification is when an object or a concept is presented in such a way as to give life or human characteristics to the idea or concept. Not only does Keats speak of Autumn as if it had life, (e.g., in lines 2 and 3, where he creates a friendship between Autumn and the sun, in which they “conspire” to “load and bless” the trees with ripe, bountiful fruit), but he also gives personality to the life-form Autumn. He first defines Autumn as a “season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.” The references to both “mist” and “mellow…

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…ch as funerals, or recessionals. It is appropriate that this change of imagery into musical imagery in the final stanza because it is not only the end of the poem, but it is the description of the end of Autumn as well (“While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day”). The use of the word “soft” in “soft-dying day” helps to take away the “Grim Reaper” sense of death and define it as a natural, inevitable occurrence that ends a cycle.

The final line “and gathering swallows twitter in the skies” gives the reader a definite sense of ending (the swallows are preparing to migrate for the winter season). At this point, the poem seems to comes to a rest, and this final line creates an effective sense of closure.


“To Autumn”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York:

W.W. norton, Inc., 2000.

lighthod Barriers in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Barriers in Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness is a book that explores many different ideas and philosophies regarding human life. How people see each other and connect with each other is one of the larger aspects of human life covered in this tale. During his journey, Marlowe meets many different types of people that he is able to decipher from the good and bad personal characteristics. These people all contribute to Marlowe’s growth as a person as he breaks down barriers inside himself that deal with race, loyalty, and the way people interrelate with each other.

The first site that Marlowe sees on his expedition puts an instant stereotype into his head. The sight is one of skinny, black laborers at the Outer Station. Marlowe sees a young boy who is hungry and feeds him a biscuit. Marlowe sees these images of people and how they’re living, and consciously or unconsciously, makes a note in his mind that this is the way Africans are. This initial impression of the Africans had formed a barrier that Marlowe would change within himself by the end of the story.

Immediately after his encounter with the laborers, Marlowe meets the accountant at the station who provides Marlowe with his first real distinction between the races. The accountant presented himself in a gracious manner. He was Caucasian, wore fancy clothes, had oiled hair, sported varnished boots, and he had a starched white collar. This all made the man look oddly out of place given that he was in the middle of the jungle and surrounded by filthy laborers. Marlowe wasn’t sure about what to think of this man at first, but when a sick man was brought into the accountant’s office, the accountant gripes about the inconvenience to himself. “The groans of a sick person distract my attention, and without that it is extremely difficult to guard against clerical errors in this climate” (Conrad 22). This cruel and cold side of the typical European ivory trader shows through very clearly to Marlowe. This was his first, but not only experience on the journey with a greedy white male.

The white manager on the boat is another character that speaks to Marlowe’s intellect by way of his actions. Marlowe gains some of his most significant self-growth in the story through his encounters and his analyzing of the manager. Marlowe is constantly hearing about ways that the manager and his crew are trying to take over the ivory ring and how they are trying to stop Kurtz from continuing his dominance in this trade.

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