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…. Essay, Research Paper

?When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be?

There are many aspects of the world today that give us

reason to overthink and be fearful. John Keats?, ?When I Have

Fears that I May Cease to Be,? discusses this and warns the

readers of what may happen if this is taken to an extreme. The

narrator goes through life until finally he understands the

inevitability of time and realizes the things most precious to


In the first quatrain of the poem, Keats uses a substantial

metaphor comparing the gathering of grain with the gathering of

his thoughts. The speaker is concerned that he wont complete his

poetry. To die young is to die before one has the opportunity to

harvest the fruits of the mind that have been ?ripened? from old

age. Keats then goes on showing how the speaker doesn?t want to

die ignorant. The night?s starr?d face? (line 5) is symbolic of

the ultimate questions in a person?s life and the speaker is

fearful that he may die before he discovers them. The third

quatrain helps to discuss the transience of things. The ?fair

creature of an hour? (line 9) is probably a lover. The speaker is

addressing the lover but it is evident that she is not the main

concern. This unreflecting love the only love he may get.

?Then on the shore/ Of the wide world I stand alone, and

think/ Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink? (lines 12-14).

In Keats? rhyming couplet he is saying that if the speaker has

fears, then he is alone. He is standing on the ?shore,? on the

edge, separated, and far apart from the rest of the world. The

things the speaker finds precious, ?Love? and ?Fame,? in the end

are insubstantial and dissolve to ?nothingness? because he never

did anything about them.

Thinking will lead to a person?s destruction. Being too

self-conscious takes away from living one?s life. Keats? speaker

warns us that if we live in fear then this will lead to death

both physically and mentally.

keats “when i have fears that i may cease to be”