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ENG215 Notes - Human Elements.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Caskey

Prathayini Paramanathan ENG215 Notes Human Elements: -the reference to Francis Ponch indicates the direction Russell wants to take with his own poetry -Ponch explores something simple with extreme detail -Russell is looking to write lyrical poetry in the direction of Ponch -lyrical poetry contains a single speaker with a state of mind, thought, or feeling where the person is thinking in solitude; it involves a sustained observation and meditation -p 439 "In my time in the north...": as a poet, Russell feels that he needs to be alone and in solitude to write poetry; however, he is happy to have disruption from Kate and Sylvan -there is a close relationship bw words, lang, and perception and Russell's relationship to the world; when he pauses on the word "humanity", it has a totally different meaning for him; there is a play going on in his understanding of what the word traditionally means for him and his new found meaning of it -p 439 "I've written two lines of poetry since I've gotten here...": Russell articulates his confusion about what he might have achieved in the two lines -p 440 "I wasn't sure what they were leading to...": he expresses his confusion, openness, and wondering about what he means by the lines he wrote -"Quadrabalance of the elements... human limbs, months, and hours": the word "quadrabalance" has its own balance, as it has four "a"s -he states that his poetry isn't "mathematical", which is an odd comparison when it comes to poetry -he is loosening his vocabulary and his oppositions bw poetry and other subjects such as math and science -this is also portrayed in how he writes poetry while Kate and Sylvan are doing science -yet, there is some mathematical concept involved in poetry with verses and stanzas -poetry certainly has a relationship with numbers and mathematics -by observing and exploring the frog population, Russell feels that there is a better way to observe and appreciate the world other than through poetry -his two lines are not nonsense -the revised lines suggest new perceptions: the way in which humans maneuver the world is in itself mathematical just like months and hours; quadrabalance of the elements represents air, land, water, and fire, which are also mathematical despite them being more natural -Russell cannot limit himself to the tools of a poet, but the tools can limit him to the natural world and the world itself -he is putting in genuine effort to find and ascribe meaning to being human and being human in this world, yet he is struggling -the word "balance" gives us a clue to what Russell is thinking about -at the beginning of the story, he dn seem to have much balance; he was suffering from depression, acting out an extreme stereotype of being a uni student, and felt that he needed to isolate himself from ppl in the world in order to be a poet -he had a narrow and restricted view of poetry and the life of a poet -he was lacking a balance in his perception and life -Sylvan grasps a better connection the world than Russell -the story shows a blurring of parameters bw what Russell constructed for himself at the beginning of the story vs what he feels towards to the end, bw art and science, bw art and life, Prathayini Paramanathan and bw Russell and the world -this places an emphasis on the value of balance and proportion -Russell's poetry seems to resemble the geometry of Leonardo da Vinci's The Vitruian Man, w
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