“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?


One thought on ““John Anderson, My Jo””

  1. Camila, I enjoyed reading your post. Two things to add would be:

    1) An introduction that states the name of the poem and author (for example, “In “John Anderson, My Jo,” by Robert Burns, the first thing one will notice is…”)

    2) Line citations after quotations. For example, “We clamb the hill thegither; / And many a canty day, John,” (ll. 10-11). I also quote using something looking like this: (2. 2-3), with the first two representing the stanza number, and the second the line number(s) of that stanza. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be using this method though… I just find it easier because you don’t have to count lines all the way down from the top of the poem. In any case, you should in some way indicate the line numbers, even if it is just “in the second line of this poem, the speaker says…”


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