Category Archives: Passion in Literature

John Anderson, My Jo

 

“John Anderson, My Jo” by Robert Burns idea of romantic love differs from most love poetry, as it reflects on a love that was, and still is, instead of persuading one into a love that could be. Though it consists of many of the typical love poetry tropes such as fading beauty, and life being too short, it goes about them in a different manner. Commonly love poetry speaks of a beauty that currently is, and uses that as a convincing argument as to why the beloved should be with the lover. “John Anderson, My Jo’s” speaker, is a woman speaking to her aged husband or lover, reassuring him that despite his aged face she still loves him. His locks once raven, are now the colour of snow. She tells him, “Your bonie brow was brent;/ But now your brow is beld, John,”(ll.4, 5). Though he has aged she still refers to him as her jo, and says, “But blessings on your frosty pow,/ John Anderson, my jo.” (ll.7, 8). These lines of reassurance to the speaker’s lover leave readers with a peaceful feeling of love. One that is true and has lasted a lifetime,  it defers from most love poetry as it demonstrates devotions to one’s partner and eternal love despite one’s age or beauty. The speaker shares that they have “…clamb the hill thegither;” (l.10) and have lived a life of love with one another.

 

Its peaceful wording and relation mix well with its simplistic two eight-line stanzas, and the song like form. It is not confusing to readers besides some traditional Scottish wording.  Its peaceful wording, syntax and structure contrast with the idea of death in the second stanza. Death usually is something people fear, it is used as a reason to act fast, and be impulsive. On the contrary “John Anderson, My Jo’s” speaker has accepted the idea and is at peace with it. We can see she is okay with the concept of death when she tells her lover “And monie a canty day, John,/We’ve had wi’ ane anither;” (ll.11, 12) She is reminding her lover and self that they have lived many happy days with one another. We are told that their lives were well lived, and though death is scary, it is also inevitable. The last four lines make the poem feel as though it is a last memory. As if she is remembering her life before she passes, or sharing this memory as her last words with her lover. “Now we maun totter down, John, / And hand in hand we’ll go, /And sleep thegither at the foot, / John Anderson, my jo!” (ll.13-16). Life’s pains and the fear of dying are all put at ease; their love for one another is what allows them to accept death.

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“John Anderson, My Jo”

In all poems there is the theme about love, but each poem shows different types of love. Some poems describe the love in a happy way other poems describe the love in a sad way like Shakespeare.  The poem John Anderson, My Jo written by Robert Burns expresses the long standing aging kind of love. The speaker seems to be an aged faithful married woman, speaking about her equally ancient and faithful husband. The subject in the poem describes a love over many years. It is a long way up and down of a hill. The speaker expresses his eternal love and states that now it is the time to go the last way of their life doing this hand in hand and together. The end of this way is probably their death.  In the poem the speaker states the appearance change of John. First he is described as a raven with his bent bonnie brow and then described with a beld brow and looking like the snow. Line 1-4  describes the youth of John and line 5-8 describes the old age and death. Although John became old the love is still the same as at the beginning. The love was the whole life so strong so that now it is the time to go together the hill down.

On the contrary the poem A Red, Red Rose, is written by a speaker who is a youthful, amorous male. The poem is a promise of love, in which he leaves her but promises to come back. The love will passed far into the future. The love is described with expressions of nature.

The poems Bonie Doon by Robert Burns is written by a speaker, an unhappy lover, who describes the pain of love with the beauty of countrysite, which seems to be unaffected by his grief.

All three poems have different number of stanzas. Every stanza of  Bonie Doon and A Red, Red Rose have four lines  and on the other hand John Anderson My Jo has only 2 stanzas with 8 lines.  The poem John Anderson My Jo has a mixed rhyme scheme.  Other poems either have a standard rhyme scheme  like  A Red, Red Rose with ABCB or no rhyme scheme.

Each poem has key words as repetition, like my jo in the poem John Anderson, My Jo .  The mood of all three poems is the eternity and the tone is everlasting love.

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John Anderson, My Jo

“John Anderson, My Jo,” by Robert Burns, presents a form of love that we haven’t seen in other works. This poem shows a side of love that’s beautiful, serene, and reflective.  It is not dramatic, nor is it begging for attention. The speaker does not appear needy, or jealous; she is simply in love. I consider the lifestyle that she demonstrates to be appealing and attainable, especially for later life. Rather than focusing on the initial stages of love, this poem is a quintessential example of what changes occur over time, in a healthy relationship.

One of the first observations I made when reading this poem was the speaker. Although we have read a wide variety of poetry, all of which featuring speakers with different views, this is the first poem that is spoken by a woman. She presents love in a refreshing manner, because it doesn’t focus on unhealthy ideas.  The relationship between herself and John appears to be honest and healthy, unlike others we have seen. For example, in “Song. To My Inconstant Mistress,” there is an extremely harsh portrayal of punishment the ex-beloved should receive. Although it’s due to unfaithful situations that aren’t present in “John Anderson, My Jo,” it still puts the topic of healthy relationships into question. If the two were truly in love in  “Song. To My Inconstant Mistress,” would the speaker genuinely want his beloved to be damned to hell? He could be saying those things solely out of pain, but in comparison, the relationship seems to lack the love and caring attributes that we see in “John Anderson, My Jo”.  In this poem, the speaker is reminiscing about her experiences with her lover, which is very admirable. When she says, “When we were first acquent, / Your locks were like the raven, / Your bonie brow was brent;” (ll. 2-4), it demonstrates how well she remembers their first encounter. This shows that he had an impact on her immediately, and the later lines show how that connection only grew.

Frequently, we consider love as the typical first stage of it: passionate, intense, and full of sparks. Love may stay that way for certain couples, but I believe it often evolves into something resembling the love shown in “John Anderson, My Jo”. The love shown in this poem is different to the love shown in others. There’s no doubt in it, especially since the speaker is reflecting on what has occurred, rather that the uncertainty of the future. Talking about the past in this manner shows how their love has withstood the test of time, which can be a good measure of how sincere it is. The metaphor of the two climbing a mountain is a wonderful way of showing that, “We clamb the hill thegither; . . . Now we maun totter down, John,” (ll. 10, 13). These lines represent how they were able to overcome difficulties, and how their love stayed strong despite any challenges. The speaker doesn’t appear to be trying to prove anything to herself like the speaker is in, “Sonnet 116”.  She isn’t questioning her love, or proving what it means. Ultimately, this love feels wholesome, happy, and true.

This poem follows a rhyme scheme of ABCB. When reading it aloud, it gives a strong sing-song effect that is only intensified after listening to the song itself. The ABCB rhyme gives me the impression of suspense within the quatrain, because you have to wait for the rhyme. I associate that with gratification, and how we appreciate something more when we have to wait, but are expecting it. We know the B rhyme will repeat itself, but it isn’t as sudden or regular as simple couplet rhymes. For instance, when she says, “John Anderson my jo, John, / We clamb the hill thegither; / And many a canty day, John, / We’ve had wi’ane anither:” (ll. 9-12), the rhyme only feels complete when she says “anither,” due to that sense of gratification. Similarly, I have noticed that the syllables correspond with the rhymes. Whenever there is a repeating B line, they have the same amount of syllables. For example, the lines, “When we were first acquent, . . . Your bone brow was brent;” (ll. 2, 4) each have 6 syllables, and the lines, “We clamb the hill thegither; . . . We’ve had wi’ane anither:” (ll. 10, 12) each have 7 syllables. The correlation between the rhymes and the syllables increases the song-like effect of the rhyme, as well as how it affects the audience.

Love can be many things. We’ve discussed the wide varieties of that word, whether it be referring to your lover, your favorite movie, your friends, or your family. Furthermore, romantic love can be divided beyond that. As love goes through stages, it changes, which is inevitable. Romantic love can be many things, but ultimately, I believe what they have in this poem is as good of a definition as any.

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John Anderson By Robert Burns

Jon Anderson, My Jo, by Robert Burns, is a poem written in a Scottish dialect in 1796. This poem is about a beloved and a lovers relationship slowly coming to an end. The speaker describes life as a hill, the top of the hill being middle-age and the slope down is headed towards death.

This poem differs a few ways from the other poems that we have reviewed in the poetry handout we were given. In this poem, the beloved is speaking about the lover instead of the lover speaking to the beloved. The speaker throughout this describes there love sadly coming to an end due to age and death. This shows that they had a good and healthy relationship with each other. But so far the poems we have reviewed are about a lover trying to achieve this long everlasting love with the beloved, this tends to come off to me as rather desperate, annoying, and sounds like a crying puppy. But in this poem, instead, it shows the rare case of true love.   You can see this on (ll-2) “We climb the hill together” this shows that they go through life together and shows there love for each other. 

This poem has a mixed rhyme scheme, this is different compared to the previous poems we have seen with a very simple rhyme scheme such as ABAB, or with no rhyme scheme at all. When I read the poem overall it seems like a reflection of a happy couple. This also is very different from, for example, e.e cummings, Since Feeling First” Where the speaker is trying to convince the beloved to stop thinking and hurry up and just be together, but she is playing hard to get. The speaker in this poem is a woman but the writer of the poem is a male, this is something I found interesting because it may be a challenge for the writer to understand the perspective of the opposite gender in these kinds of poems. 

Throughout this poem, it will express the sadness of separation and happiness of everlasting love that will live on forever. This to me is very enjoyable to read, it is nice to hear someone who was actually happy with there other lover compared to all the other sad poems we have had. 

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John Anderson, My Jo

The poem My Jo by John Anderson is different compared to the other poems we have read previously, both in terms of form and content. In terms of content, the speaker of the poem is the beloved who is reassuring her husband that he is still her sweetheart although his hair is turning grey and that they will go “hand in hand” together through life.  This particular poem is quite different from the other poems in terms of content, unlike the other poems that have a male speaker, the speaker for this poem is a woman. In addition, instead of having a male being heartbroken over a woman who has left him, it is about a woman caring about her ageing husband. In terms of form, there is also a difference from the previous poems. Instead of having four lines for each stanza, it has eight. It also has less stanzas compared to the other poems. This poem raises questions about the nature of romantic love, since love from the previous poems were perceived to only care about youth, and to love each other before it is too late. However, in this poem, this is not the case. Although the husband is ageing and having his hair turn grey, the love between the woman and the man still remains.

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Blog Post: John Anderson, My Jo

In “John Anderson, My Jo,” by Robert Burns, the speaker is a woman who expresses her love towards her beloved “jo.” This poem takes on an unconventional approach when compared to the other love poems we have analyzed. Instead of the man pursuing the woman, the woman pursues the man.

The speaker talks about both her love and her past with her “jo.” When the speaker says: ” . . . John, / When we were first acquent” (ll. 1-2), she shares the name of her beloved “John” and that she remembers when they were first acquainted. Her memories of being friends with “John” are clear as day.

To the speaker, “John” is her single joy. She extols the man’s beauty. As if everything about him is perfect. Her feelings towards the man are ardent. “Your locks were like the raven, / Your bonie brow was brent; / But now your brow is beld, John, / Your locks are like the snow; / But blessings on your frosty pow, / John Anderson, my jo” (ll. 3-8). Here, the speaker identifies everything beautiful about her “jo.”

Comparing this poem to “To His Coy Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell. We can see that the roles of the lover are switched. In “To His Coy Mistress” when the speaker says: “An hundred years should go to praise / Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; / Two hundred to adore each breast, / But thirty thousand to the rest; / An age at least to every part, / And the last age should show your heart” (ll. 13-18). The speaker in “To His Coy Mistress” is a man. He also extols his beloved, but in an exaggerated way. When the speaker says: “But thirty thousand to the rest” (l. 16), he exaggerates the amount of time he would love the parts of the “Coy Mistresses” body. The discrepancy between “John Anderson, My Jo,” by Robert Burns and “To His Coy Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell is the role of the lovers being switched. Also the woman in “John Anderson, My Jo” speaks more from the heart. She is equal in age to her “jo.”

The tone of “John Anderson, My Jo” comes off as nostalgic. The speaker prompts the reader by making us picture her past with her beloved. “We clamb the hill thegither” (l. 10). The speaker reminisces on the time she and her “jo” climbed the hill together. Her memories do not arouse feelings of sadness within me. Rather I feel the joy behind the speaker’s words. “And hand in hand we’ll go, / And sleep thegither at the foot” (ll. 14-15). The poem embellishes the happiness one should feel when around those you admire.

This poem has a rhyme scheme, but putting it together is difficult. I think it has an alternate rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD.

This poem explicates that women are capable of showing their feelings better than men. Men can sometimes exaggerate their feelings. Which we observed within “To His Coy Mistress,” by Andrew Marvell. This poem was helpful because it was from the perspective of how a woman values the concept of eternal love.

Before reading this poem I thought only about the man’s perspective on love. Is the woman treating the man unfairly? I never thought about how the woman felt. I concluded that within the love poems we read before this poem, that the men were being treated unfairly by the women. Not the other way around.

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John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson, My Jo, is a love poem written by Robert Burns. The poem is written in a Scottish dialect and is about the beloved referring to her lover, saying that it is now time for them to “totter down” the hill of life together and reach the end, that is death. Life has been compared to the descending nature of a hill. When they are on the top of the hill, life is beautiful and giving but as they go lower, they will reach the end of life. 

The poem My Jo differs from many of the other poems in the poetry handout provided. One of the major differences we see when we begin reading the poem is that the speaker is the beloved referring to the lover, instead of the other way around. The speaker describes how her lover has aged and life is coming to an end, they wish to spend their afterlife together. In some other poems, the main convention is about intimacy, whereas here it represents true love. 

 Another difference is that the poem has a mixed rhyme scheme, most of the other poems either have a standard rhyme scheme or no rhyme scheme. The speaker has also added use of repetition into the poem, “Your bonie brow was brent;” (I-4), “John Anderson, my jo” (II- 1,7,8,15). Through the way the poem has been portrayed, I get a sense that the lover is old, tired, and does not want to do anything much, maybe he doesn’t love her anymore. 

This poem is suggesting that even women can try and persuade love, sometimes even more than men. The poem is filled with emotions, it shows the sadness of separation, ever-lasting love, and faith that their love shall last all eternity. Many readers might view the poem in a sing-song manner as many of the lines repeat often, this gives it a more mellow and soothing effect. 

 

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Passion in Literature: May 3 (John Anderson, My Jo)

“John Anderson, My Jo,” by Robert Burns, acknowledges some regular tropes of love poetry during the sixteen to eighteen hundreds, buts takes a different approach to them, and conveys a unique idea in comparison to other works of that time. For instance, the familiar notion of beauty fading with time is present in the lines “Your locks were like the raven, / Your bonie brow went brent; / But not your brow is beld, John, / Your locks are like the snow.” (1. 3-6). However, instead of using this as an argument for why action should be taken during youth, it is a contently-made observation about how long the speaker has had the pleasure of being in a relationship with John Anderson. This is demonstrated by the following line, “But blessings on your frosty pow” (1. 7).

The second stanza adds to the idea of a long and fulfilling relationship between the speaker and her beloved, John. This opposes many other “love” poems, which are really more about short romances which have the primary purpose of sexual interaction than truly loving relationships. In love poetry, metaphors are commonly made to describe life– sometimes the passage of the sun through the sky, or the changing of the seasons. Similarly, the metaphor of ascending and descending a hill is used to describe life in “John Anderson, My Jo.” This can be seen in the second stanza: “We clamb the hill togither; . . . Now we maun totter down, John.” (2. 2, 2. 5).

All together, the content of the poem presents love as a mellow and happy lifetime spent together, which is much different from other love poems. One may, after reading this poems and a few others on our handout, consider which version of love truly is love. In my opinion, all versions described in the poems are forms of love– it is simply the fault of the English language for packing so much diverse meaning into one word. Another obvious difference in the poem is that the speaker is a woman (even though the poem is written by a man), so I could see someone taking this to represent the woman’s version of love, and other love poems, the man’s. I don’t believe this though.

I suspect the rhythm is supposed to be a series of couplets, the first line of each being seven syllables, and the second being six. Especially in the second stanza, syllable count deviates. I would propose that an explanation for this would be the difference in pronunciation between our current English dialect, and Burns’ old Scottish one. For instance, the line “We’ve had wi’ane anither” (2. 4) I would count as seven syllables, pronouncing “wi’ane” as “wih” and “ane,” but my supposition is that it would actually be pronounced closer to a single syllable “wane.”

The rhyme scheme is for the most part a simple ABAB, but the lines five and seven of each stanza do not rhyme with each other (“John” with “pow” and “John” with “foot”).  Each line five does, however, rhyme with lines one and three. I am unsure whether the rhyme scheme is ABAB ACDC, or if these “one-three-five” rhymes are just coincidence.

The overall regular rhythm and rhymes combined with the consistent repetitions (specifically, of “John” and the phrase “John Anderson my jo”) give the poem a melodic quality. In my head, I read it as a song. Occasional occurrences of alliteration add to this entrancing effect, pulling the reader out of the meanings of words and instead into their sounds. One example of this is the line “Your bonie brow was brent” (1. 4).

This melodic quality fits with the content of the poem, which tells the story of a couple beginning their journey “up the hill” together, and ambling back down when their life comes to a end. Unlike other poems we have read, which are filled with fiery emotions such as hatred, resent, and lust, “John Anderson, My Jo” shows a much more peaceful side of love. The contentment of the poem is matched by the steady, song-like form.

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“John Anderson, My Jo”

The first thing I noticed that is different from the other poems is that a woman is a speaker. Her tone is expressing her love for her  “jo”.  She compares the journey of life to ascending and then descending a hill. I noticed different language features such as “clamb” which I believe is the past tense of “climb.” The speaker made me clear that she wants an eternal love with him even though they are both dying. This is different from the rest of the poems because usually, the lover tells the beloved that her beauty will fade as well as their love if she is not with him and so on. The speaker is definitely not like the rest of the lovers.

In the second stanza, the speaker states “We clamb the hill thegither; / And mony a cantie day, John,” where the climbing of the hill represents the hard work that their lives together comprised.  Despite having problems, they remained positive. She thinks about the eventual death, easing the moments by reminding him they will face the end together, just as they have the rest of their existence. The speaker states his lover that it is now time for them to “totter down” the hill of life together. Also to reach the bottom, which I believe is death.

The question this poem makes me think about is if both the pains of life and the fear of death can be eased through companionship and love?

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Sentimentality in Love Poetry

I personally enjoy reading poetry because it is different from prose and is often succinct. From the olden times, poetry has been a great source of pleasure because of its spontaneity and its rhetorical beauties. People like to read and write poetry for its amazement of words to express emotions. Some might even say it is the best way to define who you are. Poetry is like a puzzle, creative and challenging but fun to solve. In the Love Poetry handout, one of the most sentimental poems is George Gordan, Lord Byron’s, When We Two Parted. 

In the handout “Melodrama and Sentimentality,” Sentimentality is defined as the ”indulgence of easy emotions” and often involves imagery that is ”vague, flowery and poetic”. (Mr. MacKnight). When We Two Parted demonstrates examples of sentimentality.

The writer is trying to express feelings of sorrow and sympathy throughout the poem. It comprehends the sadness we feel when losing someone or something dear to us. Rhyming schemes are an important observation in determining the sentimentality in poetry. In When We Two Parted, each quatrain has a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD, which also produces a ”sing-song” effect.

“In silence and tears, / Half broken hearted” (II 2-3). The writer is trying to create a sorrowful and vague image for the readers. These are emotions similar to the ones created in “Thy vows are all broken” (I-13). “In secret we met- / In silence I grieve,” (II 25-26). “How should I greet thee?– / With silence and tears.” (II 31-32). The author describes the feeling of hard times, pain and depression one goes through after a rough break up.

The poem speaks for itself and does not require much explanation. It is a poem regarding separation and indulges with the audience’s emotions through vague imagery and poetic rhythms. When We Two Apart is a magnificent and transparent poem. The audiences can understand and empathize with it.

 

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Sentimentality in Love Poetry

There are moments in life where my heart feels heavy. I feel overcome with emotions that are often too vulnerable to expose to others. It’s not that sharing them would make me feel weak; it’s that I feel too weak to share them. Often times it’s easier to leave them untouched, because it’s too difficult to dig up such a deep emotion. However, there are people that chose to expose those emotions, whether that be through writing, television, or simply to others. This is often defined as sentimentality; the “indulgence of easy emotions” (Mr. MacKnight) such as sadness, nostalgia, or tenderness. When reading the “Love Poetry” handout, I immediately thought that When We Two Parted, by George Gordon, Lord Byron was the most sentimental.

Sentimentality is quite varying to love, because love doesn’t require dramatization; it’s enough on its own. Sentimentality is easier to follow and comprehend, because it’s designed to spark an emotional response. It’s meant to make you feel the way that they feel, in a way that relates to your life. When We Two Parted appeals to the sadness one feels when saying goodbye to someone, or when losing someone. It not only demonstrates the qualities of sentimental poetry, but also makes you feel that stereotypical wave of sadness and sympathy.

One of the preliminary observations one should make to determine the sentimentality in poetry is the rhyme scheme. The rhythm should be very regular, which is the case in When We Two Parted. Each stanza has an ABAB CDCD rhyme scheme, which allows it to flow nicely and repetitively whilst reading it. Furthermore, the consistency of 8 lines in each stanza proves the regularity, which allows for the ‘sing-song’ effect.

Another key component to sentimentality is vague, flowery, and “poetic” imagery (Mr. MacKnight), which is used throughout this poem. An example of this is displayed in lines 9-12, “The dew of the morning / Sunk chill on my brow– / It felt like the warning / Of what I feel now.” This poetic imagery gives the reader a sense of chills and coldness, due to the narrator’s experiences and sadness. When he describes that specific feeling as a warning of how he feels, it indicates his pain, without truly explaining it. Another example of this is in lines 19-20, “A shudder comes o’er me– / Why wert thou so dear?” There is a similarity between these two examples, because the author uses physical feelings that everyone has experienced, to reveal how he felt emotionally. This almost gives it a far-off sensation; as if you can hear his tone and emotions, and feel how he feels, without having to hear every word. This puts the focus on the depth rather than the surface, which is what this type of imagery and language provides.

The final reason contributing to my belief of the poems sentimentality, is the lack of reason, logic, and detail. As I previously mentioned, this poem focuses largely on the emotions. The poet describes how he feels, but doesn’t explain why he feels that way. One can clearly assume that it’s regarding a separation. However, he doesn’t explain the situation, nor the reasoning behind it. That being said, sentimentality is based around a feeling, therefore an explanation is truly unnecessary in order to convey his emotions.

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Love Poetry

From the love poetry hand out, the poem that I found the most sentimental was “As I Walked Out One Evening,” by W.H. AUDEN. Throughout this poem, he describes his love for a lover who he hears singing near the river. And how his love for Him or her has no end. He does this by comparing his love for this lover to many different things that will most likely never happen. 

I found this poem sentimental because the man whoever he is, throughout the entire poem is just ex[ressing his love in the most absurd ways. Now for some, this may come off as desperate or pathetic but, If your madly in love like some may say happens, what your saying most of the time is basically nonsense. When he says The years shall run like rabbits, For in my arms I hold The Flower of the Ages, And the first love of the world.’ now when I first read this line it confused me the most. What I think means by this is when the other lover is in his arm’s, time becomes meaningless and will fly by like hopping rabbits.  Another odd yet very grabbing line for me personally is when he says “You cannot conquer Time. this is him saying, hey but we aren’t here forever even though my love is everlasting for you so tick tock. 

This poem for me was overall hard for me to decipher but once I starred at it for a while it started to make sense and chunks of it started to fit with others. And once I understood what it was saying I found it very creative and well thought through. 

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Sentimentality in Love Poetry

While love poetry should arise passion in its readers, it is quite different from directing readers to feel the emotion demanded by the speaker. This is sentimentality, which usually involves cliches and plots guided by the purpose of making one feel strongly for the characters. In the Love Poetry handout, one of the most sentimental poems is Anne Bradstreet’s A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public employment. 

The title adds dramaticism to the direct impression of the poem. One would only know that the speaker is writing to her own husband, other than someone else’s husband, once they read the poem. By using the third-person point-of-view, it gives the title a smoother ring but really means nothing much. Rather it seems like the speaker sounds sad and melancholy on purpose.

The poem itself sounds smooth and has a consistent rhythm to the ear. Since this poem is such a long, single stanza, this repeating rhythm does not seem very interesting. One desperately long line is divided into many short sections: “My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay, more,/ My joy, my magazine of earthly store” (ll 1,2) These extravagant layers of words may seem to emphasize the speaker’s sadness, but strong emotions should be portrayed best in a simple and powerful manner in order for the reader to relate to it. There are many adjectives in this poem compared to other poems about separation. In fact, there are simply too many words that could be simplified: “such frigid colds,” (l 11) and “sweet contentment.” (l 15) These lines are losing concentration in the quality of sentiments.

It is understandable about the concept of “I here, thou there, yet both but one.” (l 26) This line is more likable compared to the other lines, but I can’t help but become bored with the long chunk of lines that could have been structured in a more impactful and less self-pitied manner. I appreciate how the poet is able to use so many poetic devices to create some imagery, but it really makes the poem so cheap and too dramatic. I can relate to someone with silent but powerful melancholy. But it is hard to relate to someone who is moaning continuously about it.

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REFLECTION, ROMEO AND JULIET

Since reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, you can clearly see what Shakespeare wanted people to understand from experiencing the play in the 1500s. Shakespeare wanted people to understand love better and what it meant. He wanted you to understand what love can lead to if taken the wrong way and how it can heavily impact people. Shakespeare does this by having two lovers, one being Romeo and the other being Juliet. Romeo and Juliet both come from two very different backgrounds, the family that Romeo is from has never approved of the family that Juliet is from although they share the same wealth. 

 

Immediately when reading Romeo and Juliet all that I can think of is disbelief and stupidity. When I look back on the balcony scene where the two confess love towards each other for the first time, I cannot understand what there thought process was to come to the conclusion that they should get married in the following days. I do understand that these were to fairly young kids, but even when you are a teenager you should still be able to distinguish what going to fast in a relationship is. This whole scene and really the entire play just makes me not be able to take the play seriously since it’s so out of the ordinary and unrealistic. If you were to put this scenario in society today everyone would think they are crazy. Nowadays we see relationships lasting up to ten years, before getting married. One more thing on top of this crazy love story is the use of Shakespearian language. Now I understand for some people that Shakespearian is easy and well worth learning. But for me on the other hand, I had trouble figuring out what most of the sentences in this book meant. Even when I thought I knew what a sentence meant it would come out meaning something else crazy. 

 

I think that the Capulets and Montagues should have welcomed the relationship between Romeo and Juliet and used it as a stepping stone to becoming two allied families rather than rivals. We also as people should notice our conflicts and see what we can do to resolve them if possible if there’s no need for certain forms of negativity in life why have them consume us. 

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Love Poetry

From the Love Poetry handout, I found the poem named: “Woman’s Constancy,” the most sentimental. Within the poem, written by John Donne, he shares soft feelings as questions, wanting to know how loyal his lover is. Talking about being in love for only a day and the feelings which have overcome him due to their love.

I find this poem sentimental because even though only one person is speaking, John directs his words to his lover. When I first read this poem I was slightly confused about who was talking, but by researching the poem I was able to better understand what was going on. It’s sad to think that the man talking feels that his love is not true, however, the poem only says so much. It only talks about the man’s feelings and thoughts about their love, not the woman’s. The women that the man is questioning could have a similar perspective on their love as the man, but this may not be the case. She may believe that their love is true, but we can’t say just by reading this poem.

The poem is, in my opinion, sentimental but only to a certain extent. John’s questions are not enough to fully grasp the truth about their love. We can listen to his words but without the woman’s view, we cannot assume that their love isn’t real.

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Passion in Literature: March 13 (Sentimentality in Love Poetry)

Must love poems in some way exhibit the attributes of sentimentality. The vast majority of poems on this list were meant to rise in the reader some sort of simple emotion, whether it be sorrow, desire, or even lust. I believe one of the most sentimental poems to be When We Two Parted, a piece by George Gordon, Lord Byron that evokes sadness and sympathy.

According to Mr. MacKnight, in the handout “Melodrama and Sentimentality,” sentimentality is the “indulgence of easy emotions,” and often includes “vague, flowery, and ‘poetic'” diction and imagery and rhythms that are “very regular.” When We Two Parted demonstrates both of these qualities.

The writer uses “poetic” imagery that creates vague and disconnected illustrations of sorrowful scenes in the reader’s mind. For instance, the lines “They name thee before me, / A knell to mine ear;” (ll. 17-18) brings to the head the image of ringing funeral bells, and the lines “When we two parted / In silence and tears,” (ll. 1-2) evokes the all too iconic image of a tearful breakup. Diction in the poem is similarly flowery and emotion-provoking, with nearly each line furthering the depressing tone. The writer chooses words carefully to ensure that each has the most negative connotation possible. For example, the line “A knell to mine ear;” (l. 17) could easily have “bell” substituted for “knell,” but the word “knell” was chosen instead, because it brings with it the mood of a funeral.

The rhymes of the poem are very regular, and almost song-like. A consistent ABAB CDCD rhyme scheme is followed throughout each of the four stanzas. The passionate sorrow of the poem is expressed in the irregular rhythm, with the length, stressing of syllables, and patterns all differing in each stanza. This combination of song-like rhymes and irregular rhythm creates a perfect “poetic” depression in the poem.

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Sentimental Poem

GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788-1824)

When We Two Parted is a poem about the end of a relationship.

The speaker addresses the poem to an ex-lover. I understood that this poem doesn’t reflect that exes go different ways. Instead, it is characterized by complications, pain, and anger.

I found this poem the most sentimental because I believe there are emotions like disillusionment and frustration. I found it that way because the lover knew that his beloved has moved on, and even wonders how he ever cared about someone who seems to have forgotten him.

The speaker then relates how hearing other people talk about the lover brings him pain. Despite the breakup, he wants the ex to remain his. Hearing rumors about the lover indicates that she may have moved on. She may have given her heart to someone else.

The poem seems to say people move on with their lives,  but this doesn’t mean that they move on completely from past loves. In this case, those feelings remain to be painful as ever, even as they change in other ways.

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Personal Response to Romeo & Juliet

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet he wanted people to appreciate love, and how it can shape your life for the better or worse. In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare wanted to show us the worst possible situation two lovers could find themselves in. The two main characters Romeo and Juliet are from two different households who share the same wealth but have never approved of one another, they would always have their disagreements.

Between the two characters, I like Romeo more than Juliet. I feel that Romeo is a very interesting character with the way he acts throughout the play, he is obsessed with the topic of love. He originally loved Juliet’s cousin Rosaline, but once he saw Juliet, Rosaline was no longer on his mind. With Juliet, when she first met Romeo at the ball, which was organized by Lord Capulet, the two of them fell in love, and later on planned to marry each other. Juliet originally was going to be married to Paris, who her father fancied. Juliet has a choice if she listens to her father but if she disobeys her father’s opinions she is no longer a daughter to him, which is what happened when Juliet pleaded to her father about not wanting to marry Paris. I like Romeo more than Juliet because his life tends to go on different paths depending on his thoughts. Juliet’s life, on the other hand, revolves around her parents and the nurse and whether or not she is old enough to be married.

I think that the matter of choice was the leading factor for the tragic ending of the story. If the Montagues and Capulets during the beginning would instead of hating appreciated one another then Romeo and Juliet would have never been separated or denied the choice to marry each other even though they were from different houses.

The story is one that cannot be forgotten, it shares with us the lesson of how we should appreciate rather than neglect those who we love in life. We should be happy with what we have and should listen to our parents for support in life. However, we cannot always rely on those close to us to make the best decision for us. We have to be able to use what we have learned from the experiences within our life to make healthy decisions for our future. Which is what I believe the story is trying to teach us through both the characters and the plot.

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Personal Response Romeo and Juliet

When it comes to my personal thoughts on Romeo and Juliet, I would firstly think of its plot, as I felt that one particular part of the play just did not seem realistic and gets me extremely confused and disturbed while reading or even watching the play Romeo and Juliet. During the Balcony scene, not long after Romeo and Juliet confessed their love to each other, they have both agreed to have a marriage the following day. This particular scene, just seemed really unrealistic to me. I understand that they are both immature, and that they are in love, but having a marriage right after they have just confessed love to each other? its just seems really impractical to me. The relationship between the two of them have just escalated too quickly and its just not applicable in our current society, as it would usually take months or even years to having both partners agree for marriage.

Another topic comes up to my mind while thinking about Romeo and Juliet, and it is its usage of language. Shakespeare uses an old fashioned english that makes the story really difficult to understand. Shakespeare uses words such as “thou”, “thy, “doth” and more. I find it really hard to read the play, as I do not understand the definition of most of these words.

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Passion in Literature: Mar. 6 (Personal Response to Romeo and Juliet)

In our current day, the mass perception of Romeo and Juliet is one that paints the two nobles as icons of perfect “true love.” Though the play may not have begun the mentality that to die for one’s partner is the ultimate expression of love, it certainly emulated this ideology (or, at least, is now regarded as emulating this ideology). Thus, with the growth in popularity of Romeo and Juliet also came the mass spreading of the “I would die for you” concept. In my eyes, the play much better suites the role of a cautionary tale than a poetic romance. Hence, throughout reading and watching the tragedy, I became more and more concerned that somehow these two figures, that to me are the quintessence of idiotic impulsiveness, turned into those that we now aspire to be in our relationships.

During the whole of the play, we see Romeo and Juliet interact less than ten times, and not once do they discuss anything of genuine importance. They quite literally know nothing about each others beliefs or views of the world, besides the fact that they love one another, which they proclaim all too often in the stead of anything that actually matters. Their love can only be based off of solely physical attraction, as neither one displays to the other any personality trait besides “in love.” Yet, still, they both choose to commit suicide when they see the other dead, as if it is better to die than to live without a person who they’ve known for only four days and haven’t learned anything about besides how attractive they look.

It is very worrisome to me that we would strive to mimic the “love” that Romeo and Juliet have, as I see their “love” as more of a shallow fancy. The excitement of that that is new was not given enough time to diminish before radical events occurred, and I believe that, combined with teenage impulse, is the reason Romeo and Juliet committed suicide for each other, not any kind of “true love.” I think that the message that people should’ve taken away from Romeo and Juliet is the best course of action is not always the most immediate one. Consistently throughout the play we see impulse driving people to do make the wrong choice without properly considering options first. For example, the second Juliet comes to tell Friar Lawrence of her marriage dilemma, he decisively puts into action a not at all though out plan, which, inevitably, ends in disaster.

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Personal Response of Romeo and Juliet

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio is my favourite character. At first, I disliked his vulgarity, but I happened to adore the complexity within him. Everyone needs a friend like Mercutio in their life, but Mercutio suffers more than anyone could imagine. Rarely could anyone reach into the heart of a person like him. The closest attempt made was a scene where he talks to Romeo before going to the Capulet’s party, and the film portrays a close-up view of the two men. The light is dim, and the tranquillity of the scene is very touching. In one of the moments where Mercutio is serious, I thought I caught a glimpse of his inner-self. Contrasting to his witty and annoying guise, he might longe for harmony, considering how he is caught in between of the two noble families. My favourite scene is when Mercutio dies. The camera films Mercutio from below, and he covers his wound in his hands under the beaming sun. Then, he collapses. The crowd of men lifts his hand in horror to discover the fatal injury and quickly drops his hand back. Mercutio plays a role that eventually cost his life. I might cry for him if I watched the play alone.

The main characters, Romeo and Juliet, are the only ones who succeeded in becoming themselves in this play. The other characters’ actions revolve around them and can’t seem to do what they want. Although it may appear like the lovers have the most restrictions, they break through all of them with youth’s passion. I admire Romeo and Juliet. In my culture, people value dying with dignity for a good reason. Their seemingly irrational decisions are respectful and meaningful to me.

This play changed my understanding of love. While reading the script, I felt that they weren’t really in love with each other, but instead, they are in love with the concept of love itself. Their attractive appearances, dramatic first-sight encounter, and the obstacles that set them apart act as triggers that lead them to live a romantic, almost unrealistic life.

My life isn’t romantic. Being in a romantic relationship does not guarantee that it is romantic at all. It is tough to love someone and earn love’s mercy at the same time. Once we are spared from love and confronts our real partners, suddenly, it takes all the effort in the world to love them. If, by chance, that they happen to be in love with each other truly, then they will either stop soon or develop a reliance on the partner, which is not romantic and rather pitiful. I wouldn’t say I like having conversations with my partner. It is only romantic when I think about her.

Love has nothing to do with reality, or anything physical. In the play, Romeo and Juliet spend a night together and have sex. We can call this an act of love, but it has nothing to do with the quintessence of love. Sex is an act of contamination. It is a type of passion, which is romantic but cannot be defined by love.
Love is not limited to romantic relationships. An example would be parental love, but we don’t see much of its display in Romeo and Juliet. Familial love is realistic and, therefore, less romantic, but I believe it is the most solid relationship established under love’s name. Interestingly, Juliet is independent of paternal love. Although she is somewhat betrayed by it several times, she can withdraw from it with little struggle. This withdrawal could be due to her mother’s distantness and the nurse’s inferior identity as a servant. It is also because of her engagement to Romeo, a replacement for the love of her family. Therefore, running off with Romeo becomes an easy decision. While paternal love is one-sided and can rarely be balanced, romantic love should always be equal.

Other than love, the play also includes blind hatred between the two houses. We never know why they fought, but the play would be less interesting if Shakespear gave us the answer. There is no identified antagonist in the story, but I think hatred is qualified enough to take the role. It is an essential element that highlights love and makes the story even more romantic. It is also why the story is tragic, but I think the story of Romeo and Juliet will always be sad, even without alternatives to the plot. If Juliet obeys her father and marries Paris, she will endure the fate of becoming just like her mother. Romeo will eventually stop searching for his love. They will lose their youth, wealth and passion regardless of what happens. Romeo and Juliet is a successful tragic love story. It would be less successful if it were happy love story.

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Romeo and Juliet Personal Response

Going into reading Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, I was fairly narrow-minded. I was well aware of the story portraying two young star-crossed lovers, forced to hide their love for one another due to their warring families. I was also familiar with the seemingly unrealistic concept of love-at-first-sight, which appears to only occur in movies, television, or literature. I thought of Romeo and Juliet as a played-out love story (although, to be fair, it likely wasn’t played-out at the time), that uses *instantaneous love* as a cover for two teenagers who were physically attracted to one another. Additionally, I felt ill-at-ease knowing that schools were teaching millions of easily influenced youth a story that romanticizes suicide, due to the era we are living in. Although I still don’t agree with the ending, or the message it portrays, many of my opinions have changed regarding the characters, and the connections with our world.

Although I see their rapidly escalating relationship, early marriage, and premature suicide as a reflection of the characters’ immaturity, I no longer believe it’s based on lust. Romeo and Juliet both made quite large, incautious and conclusive errors. However, I believe they were in fact in love. It’s difficult to grasp that idea, because I find the story to be so unrealistic. However, their connection is demonstrated through several passages, interactions, and their overall characters.

Juliet’s kindness, innocence, and desire to please others is quite stereotypical, but is so for a reason. These qualities lead me to believe that she not only loves easily, but is loved easily. Romeo’s character is almost mirrored in that sense, which we can see through his love for Rosaline, directly prior to his sudden love for Juliet. Combined, these two characters form a couple of hopeless romantics, which could be a cause for their powerful and instantaneous connection. Nevertheless, this doesn’t minimize how the characters feel about one another. Romeo and Juliet are both strong minded, determined people who would do anything for love, which did not end in the best way for them. Regardless, I like their characters individually, and even more as a couple. Through reading and watching Romeo and Juliet, I could feel their connection. I wouldn’t say that it’s something that I aspire to, but it feels genuine, which is admirable. I also sympathized with their characters very strongly, because all they wanted was to be together, but that was taken away due to miscommunication. They were willing to run away from their high socioeconomic standings and family names for each other. This sincerity alone, along with everything else, justifies my anger regarding the ending.

Learning about Romeo and Juliet has allowed me to realize how far our world has come, and how different it was in the 16th century. Women were completely controlled by the men in their life, whether that be their fathers, or their husbands. Not only that,  but they were expected to marry so young, usually to someone much older. Juliet was only 13 years old when she was expected to be married. Our world has different issues facing women today. However, I’m thankful that gender equality has become a priority, and that we’re moving away from the mistreatment of women. This play is quite different to my world, which is a relief. Although I often say that I would love to have lived in a different time, I’m beginning to realize that I wouldn’t be overly satisfied with the past after-all…

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Personal response to Romeo & Juliet

Although written in the 16th century by Shakespeare, readers of the play can find themselves in the plot and in the characters and their surroundings. Although the external living conditions in England in the early modern period are in stark contrast to the present day, people’s feelings have not changed. Love, envy, intrigue and openly displayed enmity reveal what drives people today as much as in Shakespeare’s lifetime. The build-up of tension within the tragedy captivates both the reader and the spectator from beginning to end: the exposition at the beginning, expressed in the clashes of the servants, the escalation during which Romeo and Juliet meet at the dance, fall in love and finally marry, and the retarding moment when Juliet plans with Father Lorenzo to stage a suspended animation that eventually leads to catastrophe and ends with the death of the two heroes. Shakespeare succeeded in making the reader feel sorry for the protagonists and in incorporating various aspects of a tragic conflict: Thus the actors are driven by idealistic motives, but also by a desire for revenge, which has been dragged along for far too long from the conflicts between the families. The play is undoubtedly worth reading – both for the unwavering, unprecedented love and the tension that Shakespeare was able to build up from the entanglements. Both fans of classical literature and readers who are more aloof can easily find their way into the language of Shakespeare and get carried away by the plot.

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