Presentation on theme: "A narrow fellow in the grass Occasionally rides. You may have met him - did you not? His notice sudden is. The grass divides as with a comb, A spotted."— Presentation transcript:
A narrow fellow in the grass Occasionally rides. You may have met him - did you not? His notice sudden is. The grass divides as with a comb, A spotted shaft is seen, And then it closes at your feet And opens further on. He likes a boggy acre, A floor too cool for corn; Yet when a boy and barefoot, I more than once at noon Have passed, I thought, a whiplash Unbraiding in the sun; When, stooping to secure it, It wrinkled, and was gone. Several of nature's people I know, and they know me; I feel for them a transport Of cordiality, But never met this fellow, Attended or alone, Without a tighter breathing And zero at the bone.
First impressions What sort of poem is it? How does it work? What do I feel about it? What images do you find particularly striking? What poetic techniques have been fore- grounded? What connections does this share with the Area of Study?
Douglas Stewart- The Brown Snake I walked to the green gum-tree Because the day was hot; A snake could be anywhere But that time I forgot. The Duckmaloi lazed through the valley In amber pools like tea From some old fossicker's billy, And I walked under the tree. Blue summer smoked on Bindo, It lapped me warm in its waves, And when that snake hissed up Under the shower of leaves Huge, high as my waist, Rearing with lightning's tongue, So brown with heat like the fallen Dry sticks it hid among, I thought the earth itself Under the green gum-tree, All in the sweet of summer Reached out to strike at me.
A narrow fellow in the grass Lyric- does not develop a story but expresses a state of feeling. Use of iambic line- (one weak and one strong stress) Hymn meter “Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. “ Four iambic feet per line (tetrameter ) Three iambic feet per line (tetrimeter) Notice the gradual movement toward full rhyme as the poem progresses- this corresponds with the process of recognition.
A narrow fellow in the grass Occasionally rides. You may have met him - did you not? His notice sudden is. The snake is personified. Strong verb. Rhetorical question- use of second person Immediacy suggested by the last line of the quatrain. Snake belongs to the natural world, but also belongs to shared spaces. Dickinson’s use consonance- little similarity in the word sound.
The grass divides as with a comb, A spotted shaft is seen, And then it closes at your feet And opens further on. The ambiguity continues-we are allowed only glimpses- no threat is implied. The physical progress of the snake is seen through the grass. Alliteration- attention. Use of half rhyme in the next three stanzas- linked by the repeated “n” sounds.
He likes a boggy acre, A floor too cool for corn; Yet when a boy, and barefoot, I more than once at noon The use of assonance (and alliteration) is a striking feature of this line, the long vowel sounds slowing the pace of the poem- suggesting heat. The retrospective “male” voice of the poem is introduced-reinforced through the alliteration. Use of enjambment –run on line- speed, suspense...
Have passed, I thought, a whiplash Unbraiding in the sun; When, stooping to secure it, It wrinkled, and was gone. The use of strong metaphors is a significant feature of this stanza. The image of the snake as “whiplash” is effective in conveying the speed, danger and even sound of the snake. Unbraiding (to unravel; to disentangle) - an interesting word, as is the use of wrinkled.
Several of nature's people I know, and they know me; I feel for them a transport Of cordiality, We can talk a little of the persona’s feeling of belonging to the natural world. Nature personified “…transport/ Of cordiality…”-“transport” – take or carry to another place; “cordiality”- heartfelt, sincere, friendly,affability, agreeability, agreeableness… Notice the use of full rhyme.
But never met this fellow, Attended or alone, Without a tighter breathing And zero at the bone. Sensory impressions are apt and ring true-terror and dread are appropriate responses. Ambiguity in regards to the attitude to nature- positive and negative associations. The snake one of the disturbing, alienating aspects of nature. “…zero at the bone…”an interesting image z mirrors the look of a snake- a suggestion that the persona is “chilled to the bone”…existential? Notice the use of full rhyme.
“The relationship between the snake and the persona in this poem suggests the complex relationship between Dickinson and nature. The poem communicates the tension between belonging and not belonging. Write a letter to a friend where you discuss this statement, using detailed analysis of the poem to support your answer. Write 500 words due Monday 20 th May. Question taken from Oxford textbook: BELONGING 500 word writing task