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“There Will Come Soft Rains” (Teasdale – 1920) “The Horses” (Edwin Muir – 1956)

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Presentation on theme: "“There Will Come Soft Rains” (Teasdale – 1920) “The Horses” (Edwin Muir – 1956)"— Presentation transcript:

1 “There Will Come Soft Rains” (Teasdale – 1920) “The Horses” (Edwin Muir – 1956)

2 Sara Teasdale ( ) Alive during turn of twentieth century Experienced many romances as a young woman; married at age 30 (eventually divorced) Idealized view of love/relationships didn’t align with her reality Sorrow turned into poetry Eventually overdosed I might as well face it: I’m addicted to love.

3 What should have been a red flag… THE KISS I hoped that he would love me, And he has kissed my mouth, But I am like a stricken bird That cannot reach the south. For though I know he loves me, To-night my heart is sad; His kiss was not so wonderful As all the dreams I had.

4 Title shares name with Ray Bradbury’s short story. Bradbury’s piece imagines a suburban home in the aftermath of nuclear annihilation, an adaptation of Teasdale’s subject: the arrival of spring after humans have gone extinct.

5 The Poem There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools, singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white, Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn, Would scarcely know that we were gone. Couplet x6 Seems like a familiar nursery rhyme (regular meter & rhyme soft alliteration, gentle imagery) but it’s actually post-apocalyptic Mankind’s extinction Spring renewal Nature’s indifference to humankind Predictable meter Synesthesia Sudden shift in mood halfway through

6 Literary Elements Synesthesia: description of one form or sense perception by reference to another (also a cognitive association pattern) – “swallows circling with their shimmering sound” Metaphor/personification – “Spring herself, when she woke at dawn” – spring is anthropomorphized Anthropomorphism – “Robins will wear their feathery fire”

7 Literary Elements Caesura: pause in the middle of a line of poetry – Create “pivot points” – Reflect thematic conflict within poem or speaker – Marked here by commas (strong) or just a hint of a pause (weaker as in first two lines)

8 There is no

9 Assess Yourself 1. Which of the following words marks a noticeable shift in “There Will Come Soft Rains”? a. war b. perished c. fire d. night e. low 2. Teasdale’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” suggests that the eradication of humanity would a. take many years b. never happen c. go unnoticed by nature d. result in the world’s destruction e. be a tragedy

10 Edwin Muir ( ) No relation to John Muir, but he is Scottish Born to tenant farmers who later moved to slums in search of better life when they lost their land (“fall from Eden”) By the age of 14, he was an orphan on his own in the booming metropolis of Glasgow Self-educated Married Willa, also a teacher/linguist

11 “The Horses” Background Influenced by his being uprooted from the countryside From larger work, One Foot in Eden Subtly questions some of our deepest assumptions about progress Pastoral – a way of life based on herding animals; idealization of a rural way of life Nuclear apocalypse Peaceful post- industrial future Reunion between humankind & animals Free verse Elegiac (mournful) Understated tone

12 Literary Devices Antithesis to Wordsworth’s “Steamboats, Viaducts, and Railways” Archaic diction emphasizes apocalyptic style at beginning Biblical allusions Figurative horses – what do they stand for?

13 What’s the big idea? Dream of a more authentic connection with animals (as evidenced by the horses) We are part of a larger community of living beings and cannot survive alone. The end of urban-industrial modernity allows for the birth of a new world order that harkens back to a greener world. – “Our life is changed; their coming our beginning”

14 Assess Yourself 1. What time of day is it when the horses arrive in Edwin Muir’s “The Horses”? a. early evening b. midday c. early morning d. late evening e. mid-afternoon 2. The conclusion of Edwin Muir’s “The Horses” could BEST be described as a. optimistic b. inconclusive c. hectic d. disheartening e. morbid


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