Lecture 4

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3 Oct 2011
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Wednesday, September 21st 2011
ENGL 1F95: Lecture 4
Interpretive and analytical data for Constable’s “My lady’s presence makes the
roses red.
-Main comparison in the poems links lady’s power to sun’s power, as both make flowers
grow.
-Roses and lilies are personified in the opening 4 lines of the poem, and are described
as experiencing “shame” and “envy”
-The volta refers to the “virtue” of all the flowers;
-The final 2 lines explain that the water that helps the flowers grow comes from the
speaker’s tears
-The use of the phrase “in brief” at the volta tends to undermine a sense of developing
narrative.
-contradiction
-difficult to get sense of love for woman
Critical argument about Constable’s “My lady’s presence makes the roses red”
“Though Constable’s poem is, on the surface, a celebration of the lady’s power, the
representation of that power undermines this surface reading. As I will argue, the
poem’s lack of narrative structure , its illogical description of vices and virtues, and its
representation of the speak’s own influence on the flowers ultimately reveals the lady as
an artificial and powerless vehicle for a poem.”
Thesis
1.) set-up 2.)punch 3.)show you
Critical questions about Shakespeare’s “My mistress’ eyes”
1.) How does Shakespeare’s poem make use of Petrarchan sonnet conventions?
-courtly love/ courtly woman
-octave/sestet
-volta happens at sestet
-Iambic pentameter
A: Shakespeare is picking up on conventional imagery. Very Strict metric scheme. The
subject matter is about love.
2.) In what way does “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” challenge those
conventions?
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