Class Notes (809,509)
Canada (493,754)
English (1,157)
Lecture 12

English 2307E - Lecture 12.docx

4 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
English 2307E
Krista Lysack

English 2307E Tuesday March 4 Lecture 12 Arnold and Hopkins Both of these poets argue that the secularization thesis (Victorian society becoming more secularized) is too simple. They suggest that there are still people with a traditional faith and bring that into their poetry. • Faith and doubt are reciprocal – they can go together Arnold, ‘Dover Beach’ • Indicative of some of the angst that Victorians faced • Sums up an anxiety about what one can know o Scientists such as Darwin were rethinking how the world was created, it was more difficult for people to argue that humans were special and unique o The poem suggests that perhaps people aren’t at the center of history • Nature doesn’t seem to be giving people confidence about their place in the universe o eg. in Wordsworth’s romantic poetry, nature was a place of retreat and conciliation o In Dover Beach, nature is the product of geological forces (than designed by God) • For some people this is a pessimistic poem • This is a dramatic monologue (a type of lyric poem) o The same kind of poetry as Robert Browning wrote o Browning would create a character that was distinct from the speaker, but in this poem we sometimes see Arnold as the speaker o The listener is taken to be the bride (it is written on a honeymoon) • The groom doesn’t seem to be very optimistic about the life that lies ahead of him and his bride • There is a revelation of character in his feelings and the spirit of his age • Setting: Dover Beach in England o Has a big cliff that drops off o It is a pale colour (“the white cliffs of Dover”) o On a foggy day it can look like the edge of the world o It is located in southeast Britain, not far from France  During WWII it was a spot where they could keep watch for the Germans o It would be a place where you could go and have some deep and existential thoughts • What is the speaker lamenting for? What has been lost? o Faith has been lost – not just religious faith o The tone is conversational, direct, and intimate o We have a feeling the speaker is about to talk about what has been lost • Stanza 1 – Sight o At first, the speaker just gives ordinary assertions (just stating points, not using similes or metaphors). There is no interpretation. o At the same time, it as if the speaker is feeling worry or anxiety and is trying to assure himself of things he can be sure of. o As the poem goes on, we see that this is likely the limit of his knowledge.  The poem begins with sight to the point where we can’t see anything (darkness) o We have the idea that to see something is to know it – you have to be able to see something to verify that it’s there (that is what knowledge is) o We are told to listen when sight will no longer suffice • Stanza 2 – History o After looking at and listening to the ocean from the window, Sophocles now comes into his mind (he tries to draw connections between their experiences) o The speaker wants to secure a reference by making connections and locating himself in history (but also talks about time as arbitrary) o The Victorians were obsessed with what it means to live in your own moment • Stanza 3 – Sea of Faith o Arnold is coming around to the profound metaphor of the “sea of faith” – suggesting that faith (the ability to know and believe) was once full, but now he can only hear the sea o Even the line lengths of the poem is irregular – the appearance seems to replicate the idea of a sea of faith that is randomly organized • Stanza 4 – Consolation o The sea of faith is in retreat, we can no longer know anything. o Marriage may be the only space where you can find consolation from the sea of faith (life)  Many things in life are beyond your control, but you can make something long-lasting and beautiful in the domestic sphere o However, we don’t know if this is the ultimate recourse because the poem leaves behind the sea of faith and to a place of battle where people don’t know who or why they are fighting (it is so dark), and they end up turning on themselves and fighting each other because they can’t see. o The entire culture falls into disarray because people don’t know how to conduct themselves. o We are no longer sure about the potential for marriage or intimacy as a way to counteract this. o Most of the poem is irregular, but the end falls into couplets.  This could be seen as a calm coming to the storm, or a case for the opposite (everything is changing) Hopkins, ‘The Windhover’
More Less

Related notes for English 2307E

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.