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BY ELIZABETH BARRET BROWNING (1806-1816) HOW DO I LOVE THEE?

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Presentation on theme: "BY ELIZABETH BARRET BROWNING (1806-1816) HOW DO I LOVE THEE?"— Presentation transcript:

1 BY ELIZABETH BARRET BROWNING ( ) HOW DO I LOVE THEE?

2 BACKGROUND Born in Durham, England, was the oldest of twelve children and daughter of a strict father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, who owned sugar plantations in Jamaica. When fifteen, Elizabeth suffered a spinal injury caused by saddling a pony, and became addicted to pain relievers. Being weak, she was sent with her brother Edward to the sea of Torquay, where her brother drowned to death, causing her to be emotionally broken.

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4 … All the while she had been deep in reading and writing poetry, and she had published some anonymous works which received much unexpected praise. She continued to write, despite her depressed state, but refused to leave her house for the next five years. During this time, she produced a collection known as Poems, which caught the eye of a poet who she had mentioned in her poems, Robert Browning.

5 … The two privately exchanged over 500 love letters in the subsequent months, Elizabeths poems being classified as Sonnets from the Portuguese, ranked among the most famous collections of love lyrics in English history. One of these poems was known as How Do I Love Thee?

6 … It is addressed to her husband, who used to call her 'My little Portuguese" as she was dark.

7 HOW DO I LOVE THEE? BY ELIZABETH BARRET BROWNING How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everydays Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right. I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhoods faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

8 STRUCTURE Sonnet Petrarchan (but does not follow normal structure) There is no clear break between octave and sestet. Begins with a rhetorical question. Rest of the poem answers the question.

9 Petrarchan sonnet structure A B A B A C D E C D E First quatrain (4 lines) First quatrain (4 lines) Second Quatrain (4 lines) Second Quatrain (4 lines) First tercet First tercet First tercet First tercet Turn/volta – a change in direction of argument or narrative

10 TITLE The question in the title and the first line: 'How do I love thee?' The poet dedicates the rest of the poem to answering her own question and expressing the ways in which she loves her partner.

11 THEMES True love overcomes all and is eternal in nature. True love can be profound, deep and moving; a spiritual experience. The expression of love for another person can lift life above the mundane. There is hope that great love exists beyond the grave; that a truly great love can never die.

12 TONE AND MOOD Sincere, passionate, idealistic. She shares her feelings honestly and openly.

13 ANALYSIS OCTAVE

14 LINE 1 -2 How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height Repeated; (anaphora) builds rhythm, emphasises love/infatuation with partner Hyperbole exaggeration reinforces the poets intense belief in the extent of her love Enjambment (increases pace) – love reaches far and wide Rhetorical Q Does not expect answer – speaker lists the ways

15 LINE My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of B eing and ideal G race. Personification and Apostrophe - spiritual/religious words 'grace', 'praise', 'saint' and 'God - woman's love is deep and true, compares with Gods grace Finds the goal of being alive Capital letters – strong feelings toward religion. Not trapped by limits of body has feelings of love beyond her scope of vision (spiritual realm) - beyond what she can see or perceive.

16 LINE I love thee to the level of everydays Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. Metonymy connotation of night and day - loves her partner not only during the day but during the dark hours of the night too Love is continuous Entire day is spent with partner in mind Merely breathing – needs to love him like need to breathe Alliteration of l sound

17 LINE I love thee freely, as men strive for Right. I love thee p urely, as they turn from P raise. Alliteration of p spound not compelled or forced to love, own intention. slavery occurring during the 19 th century, not all men have equal rights. Strife for justice and fairness Not corrupt, does not expect praise Right and Praise = Personification and Apostrophe

18 ANALYSIS SESTET

19 LINE I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhoods faith. Jesuss suffering is referred to in Christian faith as The Passion intensity equal to that experienced during suffering or mourning sense of love is idealistic and unchallenged, blind faith like a child

20 LINE I love thee with a l ove I seemed to l ose With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath, Alliteration of l sound She loves her husband the same as she loved her dead mother and brother. Euphemism - Reference to speakers dead mother and brother Edward

21 LINE Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. No matter what, love will always be strong If God wills to put both in Heaven, or both in Hell, at least they will be able to be with each other in order to love after death. After death, if it is even physically possible and if God chooses her to have the ability, then she will choose to love Robert more after her death.

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23 ANSWERS 1.The poet loves with her whole soul. She loves him for fulfilling her completely, every hour of the day. She loves him honourably. She loves him without asking for flattery or praise. She loves him with all the emotion she experienced when she lost people se loved. She loves him with a love she believes, with Gods will, will last for all eternity. 2.aMetonymy bSun implies day – sunlight being associated with and representing day. Candlelight implies night - a need for artificial light.

24 … 3.Depth ; breadth; height 4.The word suggests the higher ideals of human beings; the belief in things that are honourable; acting according to ones conscience. 5.False, she knows exactly because she says let me count the ways and she then goes on to list them. 6.B


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