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A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale.

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Presentation on theme: "A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale."— Presentation transcript:

1 A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair At distances of centuries From the malaria.

2 A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye (When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie). Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair From the malaria. (At distances of centuries)

3 Malaria Few civilizations, in all of history, have escaped the disease. Some Egyptian mummies have signs of malaria. Hippocrates documented the distinct stages of the illness; Alexander the Great likely died of it, leading to the unravelling of the Greek Empire. Malaria may have stopped the armies of both Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. The disease's name comes from the Italian mal'aria, meaning "bad air"; in Rome, where malaria raged for centuries, it was commonly believed that swamp fumes produced the illness. At least four popes died of it. It may have killed Dante, the Italian poet. George Washington suffered from malaria, as did Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. In the late 1800s, malaria was so bad in Washington, D.C., that one prominent physician lobbied— unsuccessfully—to erect a gigantic wire screen around the city. A million Union Army casualties in the U.S. Civil War are attributed to malaria, and in the Pacific theatre of World War II casualties from the disease exceeded those from combat. Some scientists believe that one out of every two people who have ever lived have died of malaria.

4 Seam - definitions a joint consisting of a line formed by joining two pieces a wrinkle a stratum of ore or coal thick enough to be mined with profit the stitching around the circumference of a cricket ball From Wikipedia: Eternal flames exist in nature … as by-products of natural gas deposits leaking through the ground. Similar phenomenon such as peat fires and coal seam fires can also burn for decades or centuries. coal seam fires stimulant (-s)stimulant (-s), n. [see stimulate, v.] An object that quickens the energy and strength of one's heart, etc. stimulate (-d)stimulate (-d), v. [L.] 1.To excite, rouse, or animate to action by means of a motive. 2.To prick or goad. stimulusstimulus, n. [L. 'goad'.] That which produces a quickening of energy and strength of action.

5 A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair At distances of centuries From the malaria. Note the reliance on VOWEL sounds for rhyme and accented words – linked to ‘breathing’.

6 A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair At distances of centuries From the malaria.

7 A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair At distances of centuries From the malaria.

8 ONE sentence! – Complex – made of a principal clause, followed by an (inverted) subordinate clause. Suggests continual thought + a continuing existence of the word Low modality “may” – implies doubt or uncertainty Perfect / Close Rhyme (lie / eye) 3 rd -4 th lines are inverted syntactically – the meaning is obtuse A word dropped careless on a page May stimulate an eye When folded in perpetual seam The wrinkled maker lie. What word/s? Words are powerful Who is the ‘maker’ of text – Dickinson, the persona, or a third party? Is the maker a reference to a deity/ Creator? Why is the maker ‘wrinkled’? Is the maker the composer, wrinkled, perhaps dead?

9 Infection in the sentence breeds. We may inhale despair At distances of centuries From the malaria. Has something written (eg a letter) hurt the persona or caused her to ‘despair’? Has something (that the persona wrote) hurt someone else? Whatever you write has consequences; texts have a long life (could refer to letters as well as poems) As the ‘maker’ of text – you are always associated with your words Two sentences: blunt opening statement, then an elaboration follows Repetition of low modality “may” ‘Slant’ or imperfect rhyme’ (breeds / centuries + despair / malaria)

10 Dickinson explores the responsibility of being a (published) writer. Dickinson’s poem suggests that one must always take great care when expressing thoughts on paper. She compares a "careless" word - one written without thought - to malaria, a disease that spreads and ravages. The poem claims that words live on well after they have been put to page and may have consequences far beyond the original intent

11 Sharing ideas can be dangerous! If words have power to last, a writer may belong more to future generations than they do to their own. A writer has a responsibility to consider the effect of their words on the community.

12 Dickinson began to see language and the word, which were formerly part of God’s domain, as the province of the poet. The duty of the poet was to re-create, through words, a sense of the world as a place in which objects have an essential and almost mythic relationship to each other. “To Dickinson poetry was clover… (a reference to a sprig of clover sent to her, from the grave of her father). … If a small flower bud had such power, she thought, how much ore might a poem possess?. Words can destroy. “A word dropped careless on a page” could wreak its havoc long after its maker had died.” Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, Roger Lundun (p.165)

13 AAq0Rt1 Yahoo answers! Keep in mind that during Dickinson's time, the main form of communication between people, aside from in person conversation, was the written word. So Dickinson is writing about the power of the word, even a single word, and the impact these words can have on people. She compares a "careless" word - one written without thought - to malaria, a disease that spreads and ravages. She also points out that such words live on well after they have been put to page and may have consequences far beyond the original intent. So, it is at some level a caution to take care in how one expresses themselves. The fact that we are still reading Dickinson today, well past her lifetime, serves to illustrate the power and endurance of the written word.

14 Emily Dickinson’s poem “A Word dropped careless on a page” explores the notion of the lasting effect of the written word. Ideas that are written (and published) can last for centuries, affecting the minds and emotions of future generations. The poet knew this from her own reading, when writers such as Shakespeare had a powerful effect on her thinking and philosophy. Her poem opens with a note of warning against using words lightly. The word choice “dropped careless” has an accusatory tone, followed by the phrase “may stimulate an eye”, which can mean to goad or provoke. (Disease was sometimes thought to be the result of over-stimulation). This poem is rather like a ‘cautionary tale’ The metaphor of disease is sustained, from the warning that “Infection in the sentence breeds”, to the logical result that “we may inhale despair … from the malaria”. The effect is to draw a parallel between a “careless” written word and the world’s most deadly (and unstoppable) disease. If a word causes infection, then despair is the disease, the end result. In Emily Dickinson’s world view, words had the power to create or destroy. In the age of Darwin and doubt, in the age of questioning the existence of a Creator, a writer had god-like power. Ideas were indeed dangerous. The philosophical writings (eg of Voltaire and Rousseau) in part provoked the French (and American) Revolution. The implications of a pandemic of despair, of loss of hope, are powerfully suggested in this poem.


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