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“The sonnet, on the other hand, is blessedly common, has been written in every era since the English renaissance, and remains very popular with poets.

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Presentation on theme: "“The sonnet, on the other hand, is blessedly common, has been written in every era since the English renaissance, and remains very popular with poets."— Presentation transcript:


2 “The sonnet, on the other hand, is blessedly common, has been written in every era since the English renaissance, and remains very popular with poets and readers today. Best of all, it has a look” (Foster 22). A sonnet is a poem that consists of fourteen lines. It is the most commonly known poem, and is not hard to identify. It is a simple poem. It doesn’t take a genius to read it; there is no need for poetical jargon or elements to understand the structure of the poem.

3 Being a square is another helpful tool that attracts poem- readers. It is fourteen lines long, and written in iambic pentameter. No matter what “iambic pentameter” means, but every line is almost 10 English syllables. 10 English syllables is about the length of 14 lines. The main question is, “How does being a square help the sonnet?” In the literal sense, it doesn’t. However, the way the eye perceives the form has a positive effect: the form makes the experience even better. “Well, I respond, trying to milk the moment for all its suspense- it’s a square” (Foster 23).

4 “Two gazed into a pool, he gazed and she, Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think, Pale and reluctant on the water’s brink, As on the brink of parting which must be, Each eyed the other’s aspect, she and he, Each felt one hungering heart leap up and sink, Each tasted bitterness which both must drink, There on the brink of life’s dividing sea. Lilies upon the surface, deep below Two wistful faces craving each for each, Resolute and reluctant without speech:- A sudden ripple made the faces flow, One moment joined, to vanish out of reach: So those hearts joined, and ah were parted so” (Foster 25). Poem by Christina Rossetti Christina Rossetti was a British poet in the late nineteenth century. Obviously, you can tell that the structure of the poem is first perceived as a square.

5 There are two sentences, making more sense instead of ending at each line. The reader can easily tell where it ends-at the end of line 8, which is also the format of a sonnet. “What Rossetti does here is construct her sentences which have to carry her meaning, so that they work within the form she has chosen” (Foster 26). She chooses an uncommon rhyme scheme: abbaabba, and for the sextet at the end, cddcdc, which is also fairly uncommon. Notice that she uses words that are also found in our everyday language, and not words like “thou” and “thus.” Her content within the poem is fairly understandable.

6 As said previously, Rossetti constructs her sentence to carry her meaning and to work within the form. The first 8 lines describe one idea, while the next 6 carry the other. She includes very descriptive words that conjure up images of longing and sadness in the reader’s mind, and bring to mind how their surface is so like the water. From looking deeper into the poem and reading word for word, you can inference that the poem is about Narcissus, a beautiful man, told in a Greek myth, to have seen his reflection in the water, and fall in love with it. Thus, the allegory ends with the proper ending of him drowning, because of his own conceitedness, the moral of the story. “The beauty of this poem lies, in part, in the tension between the small package and the large emotional and narrative scene it contains” (Foster 27).

7 Out of all the poems in the world, the sonnet is probably the most widely known. It has many factors that attribute to its popularity: the form, the content, and the interpretation. Its form includes the shape of the poem, and the rhyming scheme. The content itself can be shallow in meaning, but the enjoyable part of reading a poem is finding a hidden meaning, which counts as the interpretation. “We owe it to poets, I think, to notice that they’ve gone to this trouble, as well as to ourselves, to understand the nature of the thing we’re reading” (Foster 27).

8 Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, is a very verbose and circumspect book, written in the late 18 th century, so there are lots of profound words within the book. There are also lots of hidden meanings behind the words, and you can apply what you learned to it. For example, when Mr. Wopsle, a boastful man whom Pip despises, talks about not wasting and learning to gracious and self- conservative, especially concerning food, he is gluttonously eating, at the exact same time. From the text, you can pick up descriptive words like “gluttony” or “detestable” and infer that Mr. Wopsle is not a man of his words, which causes Pip to dislike him. “’Swine,’ pursued Mr. Wopsle, in his deepest voice, and pointing his fork at my blushes… (I thought this pretty well in him who had been praising up the pork for being so plump and juicy)” (Dickens 26).

9 You’re probably wondering how could a sonnet relate to the real world. The sonnet as a whole can’t be applied everyday, but of course, once in a while, you will pick up a poem, and read it, and this information would come in handy. However, the real help in learning about sonnets is the way you learn to read and perceive the content of the poem. When reading a sonnet, you learn to pick up specific dynamic and descriptive words that have a hidden meaning behind it. Maybe you could use this during conversations, or when you read.

10 Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New York: Oxford Press, 1993. Print. Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: Harper- Collins Publishes, Inc., 2003. Print.

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