Ode To Autumn Essay, Research Paper
John Keats was born to a likeable young man, Thomas Keats, who was described as being energetic and intelligent, and to a flirtatious, young girl who was said to be dangerous if left alone with, Frances Jennings, in October 31, 1795. There is some uncertainty about the exact birth of this young couple s first son because the date of birth was initially introduced on the day of his baptism, which was the following December. After the young couple married in October 1794 at St. George s in Hanover with disapproving reasons by Frances family, they could not do otherwise perhaps because of John s expectancy. For reasons unknown, Keats respected October 31, 1795 as the date being his birthday. There are three brothers that followed him: George in February 1797, Thomas in November 1799, and Edward in April 1801 then, finally, a sister, Frances Mary in June 1803. According to George, John, was a complete mamma s boy, who also resembled her in appearance and temperament. Early in his life, John Keats seems to have been a boy of intense feelings and creative with vivid imagination, deeply devoted to his mother. Though the family atmosphere was one of warmth and freedom, in which the brothers grew together forming an unbreakable bond, at their first experience of loss, when the youngest boy, Edward, died in infancy, drew the bond even tighter.
After John Jennings daughter married, he retired from his prosperous livery establishment, Swan and Hoop, leaving it to his affluent son-in-law, Thomas Keats. It was here that John Keats experienced his first glimpse of the world, which must have sunk deep into his memory. It was this same livery farm where John experienced his father s accidental death and his mother s quick remarriage. Less than a year later, John, whom began to find the comfort of a father in his grandfather, died in March 1805. The old man left quiet a bit of money and land to his family, which was supposed to be split between them, but his sister, Frances Rawlings had other plans, by taking it all and disappearing. Although all initial plans for refinement in education where terminated, John found a second home with his grandmother, Mrs. Jennings. The fact was that John had to mothers during his boyhood – one young, beautiful, and unreliable, the other older, equable, and affectionate. Yet, this division of parental instability appeared later in John Keats life, when he had the tendency to acquire two very different types of women in his private life.
As a growing lad, John was impulsive, boastful, and somewhat self-centered. But it was as a fighter that he made his name, when he rushed to save his younger frail brother by a teacher s hand. Even though his younger brother matured well like his father, and begun to win the many battles fought between the two, it was he who remained John s closest companion of his boyhood. Yet, John s life began to grow darker during several years. In 1807 his uncle Midgley, who he worshipped, was stricken with consumption and died the following year. And at the reappearance of his mother, now an ill and adverse woman must have had a disturbing effect on a boy who knew the opposite of her. She, too, began to show signs of consumption and in 1810 resumed her death of an illness gone unchecked.
The painful experience of his childhood took a special form. The loss of his parents and uncle did not make him the poet he became but the emotion endured laid a foundation, where upon John Keats built his masterpieces. Ironically, one of the choices John Keats makes as a career establishment was in medicine not in poetry, as the opportunity to relieve suffering. However, a year after his entrance to the prestigious Guy s Hospital in London, he abandoned medicine for poetry. It was there that John cultivated time spending in the fields reading or working out a sonnet. Yet, his ultimate decision was influenced greatly by a leading political radical, poet, and prolific writer of criticism, Leigh Hunt, who was also the editor of the Examiner, where Keats made his debut.
On Monday, March 3, 1817, a year to the day from the beginning of his term as a dresser at guy s, John Caste s first book appears in a neat pocket-sized volume titled, Keats Poems: Price 6s. Yet, as a new poet, criticism was much endured so Keats opted to keep his hopes high and begin on his second creation Endymion: A Poetic Romance, which was published a year later in 1818. This volume of perfection made John Keats a poet. In 1819, after his somewhat success as a poet, Keats s annuus mirabilis, is created and entails almost all of his greatest poems, including To Autumn. That following year Keats produces the volume Lamia, Isabella, The eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems.
Keats based many of his poems through inspiration and the enlightenment of milieu. He found a complete literary absorption via the tall grass, evening dew, and in melodious chirps. The outdoors was the home of almost all of the chef d’oeuvre. His spirits would rise as he would read and rewrite his own work after a breath-taking walk through the fields. It was on these customary walks before his solitary dinner that led him out past fields, which were once inhabited by full-grown wheat, where he realized his own poetry was headed out to the market. He imagined autumn the season of fulfillment. What John Keats wrote on that Sunday afternoon was his most perfect, flawless, and exquisite poem yet, titled To Autumn. Described by some critics as being his most characteristic poem of all because of his own impersonal image lost all through, and by his rich metaphoric utterances. Magnificent with words, he emerges the fullness of life, the completion of a progress that lies deeper than the rise and fall of the sun. The season of autumn was manifested by the hours and days of misty mornings, drowsy noon, and chilly sunset. The idiosyncrasy widens its location from cottage yard to neighboring fields and distant hills and skies. The poem embodies a summary of achievement and a half-conscious gesture of farewell.
Many critics have related issues concerning the poem overall. Each have a different opinion on the general meaning, but all agree that the poem is written perfectly. As each individual interprets the rise and fall of the sun in a rather unique and personal diversion, explication varies from critic to critic, yet manages to connect by another.
Walter Jackson Bate, who is the editor of Keats, A Collection of Critical Essays, is among the few critics looked upon as having made the one assertion that almost all can agree upon. It is because of the particularly sharp essence of the poem that allows Bate to find it one of the most nearly perfect poems in English. Bate also claims that the parts of the poem, contribute directly to the whole, with nothing left dangling or independent. (Bate, 155) Bate also states that with a short space, many different resolutions are occurring, which only supports the old proverb, Quality not Quantity. The poem seems to have been written virtually effortlessly with a simple yet appropriate variation in the basic ten-line stanza giving the poem a prolonged effect and fulfillment. Throughout the entire poem, the poet is absent; there is no I, and no sign of him. The poem is self-sufficient and genuine with its overall purpose and definition. Keats aspired to a new level, which he himself has called, stationing in other words, a process by which unit the opposite. All three stanzas are united by the same theme and separated by the absorption of another. For example the theme of the first stanza is ripeness and of a growth reaching its climax beneath the maturing sun. The pressure of the fruit on the trees vines loading up with juices and the beehives being already full to the brim, do not stop growth from continuing or autumn to surrender. The process allows budding more and later flowers. (Bate, 156) The first stanza becomes a process and a beneficent agricultural conspire, plotting secretly with the sun to bring ripeness to a state of awe. The stanza is aureate, Spenserian in the fullness of style, replete with heavily accented single syllable parts of speech. The process of Autumn loads, blesses, bends, fills, swells, plumps, and sets budding, the only receptive consciousness of all activity is given by the bees, who sip their aching pleasure nigh to such a glut that they think the warm days will never cease. The honey of harvest pleasure has o er-brimm d their natural resources. This allows the manifestation of the picture to come alive into the imaginative view. The fullness of nature s own grace, her free and overwhelming gift of it, burdens the stanza to the ripest state. * In the second stanza, where one might expect the process continue in an elaborate effort, there is stillness. While the first stanza concentrates upon the natural world through images of growth and process, the second stanza shifts to a more artful and stylized conception by representing autumn as a figure captured and framed within a series of perspectives that are recognizably conventional. In several appropriate postures and settings, one can experience an imaginative description of a personified season. * Autumn has now become a harvester that is not harvesting. (Bate, 156) It is immobile at first while sitting careless on a granary floor, or asleep on a half-reap d furrow. Yet it manages to save the interlocking flowers that have mended with it. Movement is momentarily achieved as the figure is keeping steady its laden head, crossing a brook. Autumn is again disturbed as it stops, watching the oozing apple cider hours by hours. There is a similarity bestowed upon this stanza which is related to ones own live; the end is approaching. Yet, this association does not conceive to be true until the last stanza, where the once personified features of autumn is now embarking on concrete images of life and death. The opening question implies that the season of youth and rebirth, with its beauties of sight and sound, has passed, and that the season of autumn is essentially passing. The personified images are now being replaced with concrete images of life, and of life unafflicted by any thought of death. It is life that can exist in much the same way at other times than autumn. The choir of the small gnats mourning for the dying year, and the gathering of swallows implicate the autumn as soft-dying. (Bate, 157) While the poem is more descriptive and suggestive than dramatic, its latent theme of transitions and mortality is symbolically dramatized by the passing course of the day. Moreover, the final image represents the music of autumn in its entirety. By the formal explication of W.J. Bate, he concludes that the poem is simply a work of art. (Bate, 159)
Andrew Bennett in his book Keats, Narrative, and Audience The Posthumous Life of Writing, agrees with W.J Bate, calling To Autumn one of the most nearly perfect poems of the English,” as well. Yet, Bennett describes this perfection of language, as an escape from history apparently by the negation of political events occurring at that time. He suggests that the sublimation of politics and economics from the poem eliminate the chaotic noises represented in history. He concludes that it is not only by his walks through fields is Keats inspired but is generated by ideological tensions in which a writer in the early nineteenth century was subject. (Bennett, 151) Keats writing of Autumn was during the summer and autumn of 1819 meant that an intervention in a series of dissertions both disrupt the poems perfection and situate it with the political events of autumn 1819. The politics that directly coincide with the poem are within the contemporary ideological terms of agriculture. The revolutionary implications of the nineteenth century were due to the minor uprising of the rural workers against the 1815 Corn Law and economic conditions of that period. The answer lies in Ceres. Ceres, the goddess of corn and harvest has a seemingly unstated and absence throughout the poem, yet by suggesting a mythological substitution, To Autumn, may be positioned in that sermonize. The significance of the goddess in relation to property, law, and the general agriculture alliance, represents an initial transformation in literary terms. Bennett also states that the demarcation of boundaries in the mythology of Ceres is particularly significant based upon the season itself, autumn. (Bennett, 164) Even though autumn has no boundaries, the season is located within two separate conditions and points into another, which are all three dislocated in their sense of time in each stanza. For example, the bees in stanza one are to early and the lambs in stanza three are already sheep. This dislocation that is again revisited by the movement from the cottage to the fields, and again to the boundless sky suggest the strategy of a poet maturing. The poem ends with noise that is not the noise of a dying season, but is that of literary tradition that allows to alternate music by textual imposters.
In Geoffrey Hartman s Poem and ideology: A study of To Autumn, he too, agrees that through its decorum, lack of egotism, and a perfected union of the literary textiles is left with a sublime explication of the poem. The nature of the poem is genuine in form, where a new light as been cast to suggest a new experience. To Autumn which has been called an ode is argued by Hartman that this is not an ode but can best be defined as an English or Hesperian model of a traditional elevation of the consciousness that is essential to is existence. The style of the poem domesticates the heart; the poet is neither imp nor incubus. The poem constructs the climate as its production of honey in the beehives, flowers, and noises. Hartman describes the poem as starting on enchanted ground and never leaves it. (Bloom, 90) Autumn s ripening ceases as the reader feels the external agent surrounding it. Imagination becomes deliberate as Keats pushes the mental horizon to infinity. The poem becomes a dream that is beginning to shatter as it gets toward the end. The word oozing becomes enchanted into time lapse and transcends in Where are the songs of spring? Descriptive details depend greatly upon the infinitives not indicatives assumed (Bloom, 91). Hartman does not hold his reasons as insightful as Bennett does with Ceres as a leading factor of influence, but he concludes that Keats consummates art to conspire with air.
It is obvious that throughout the entire poem the theme has taken a direction far more extensional and dimensional, which is concealed, by other parts of the poem, particularly the concrete description. Though its structure is not simple, the continuos sense of being parallel to the day and awareness of the structure allows it to be simplified. The process of merging forms of development in an almost incognito fashion, Keats allows the gathering swallows return the meaning to the soft-dying day while the last stanza still negotiates with the first. This process has been described as being spatial, permitting the structural relationship coexist with each other. Yet, this spatial metaphor is scarcely given a second chance because To Autumn does not take a metaphoric route in order to promote the degree of expression that exists. All the poems that Keats writes begin with a representation of realistic circumstances that move into an imagined realm, and ends with a return to the realistic. Considering this arc of imagination as a structure and theme, these imaginative aspects are in accord with the thought of Keats time and place in his own life. As one of the best Romantic poets , Keats preoccupation with nature is somewhat of a clich .
To Autumn is shorter than the other Odes, and simpler on the surface in several aspects. The music of autumn, the twittering of the swallows, remains realistic and literal, because the tensions of Keats theme are implicit in the actual conditions of autumn, when beauty and melancholy are merging on the very surface of reality. Keats genius was away from the statement and toward description, and in Autumn he had the natural symbol for his meaning. Yes, ode To Autumn is shorter than the other Odes, and yes it is also less complex in its materials; therefore, it must be true. Good things do come in small packages.
I agree with the initial critic W. J. Bate that John Keats poem, To Autumn is one of the his best he has ever written. Keats has a tendency to describe the very essence of an object, or in this case a season, but does not allow his actual feeling take over the true moment he is passing. He allows his pen to regurgitate what he is experiencing with the interventions of his soul. Bate is also credited for describing each stanza in depth, leaving out much of the exaggeration of Bennett and Hartman. I also agree that it is through personal experience that Keats finds the original source of all his poetic enchantments. He was able to tell his own decaying body by signs he was receiving through himself. Yet, until the very end his pen was irrevocable. He died in Rome on February 23, 1821in the company of Joseph Severn, a young painter. Keats s poems and letters were extraordinary. His true existence was taken early but will live forever by his common words of inspiration so commonly used. I do not agree with the interpretations made by Bennett that the poem was an escape of history. Ironically, the poem seems to hold more history than thought. For example, bees having hides and flowering flowers expressed in such a way that one can almost hear the bees and smell the flowers.
Finally, I contend that To Autumn is popular among all the generations, not because of literal significance but because of the romantic sense. No matter what generation one has lived in romantic counterparts have always been successful.