Presentation on theme: "When I have fears - John Keats"— Presentation transcript:
1 When I have fears - John Keats What are you afraid of?List your top three fears/phobiasWhy do you have these fears?Are they common to all humans - inherent?Do they result from an experience?Will they change over time?
2 Context of the poem.Keats knew death and was well aware of the fragility of life.Father died when Keats was 9 years oldMother died of TB when he was 14He trained as a surgical assistantHe nursed his brother Tom through the later stages of Tuberculosis until Tom’s death.He wrote; ‘When I Have Fears’ in Jan 1818 and Tom died in Dec 1818He wrote: ‘When I Have Fears’ at least a year before meeting Fanny Brawne. (the Brawne’s moved into part of Wentworth Place in April 1819)He was conscious of mortality – evident in his poems Bright Star and Ode to Autumn
3 ThemesTask: Break into table groups and look at each quatrain. What themes are evident?Lament for lost opportunitiesUnfulfilled maturity as a writerExperience the magic of loveExperience life and the wonders of the world
4 Form/Structure Shakespearean (or Elizabethan) sonnet 3 Quatrains and a final rhyming coupletEach quatrain progresses the themes in the poem with the exception of the couplet – that drastically changes the mood to one of despairWhy did Keats use the Shakespearean sonnet form here rather than the Petrarchan?Read the analysis:
5 A closer look at the first quatrain When I have fears that I may cease to beBefore my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,Before high-piled books, in charactery,Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;Vocabulary: teeming – overflowing,glean’d - extract something/take something out/harvestedcharactery – printing/handwriting,garners – granary (where corn in stored)What euphemism does Keats use in the first line?Explain the metaphor that Keats uses in connection with his writing.How does the use of this metaphor help to express his thoughts about his writing and his fear in this quatrain?
6 Language/imagery: Quatrain One When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,Before high-piled books, in charactery, Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;Key language features of the first Quatrain 1:- He’s afraid he’s going to die before his work has maturedUse of simile for the books compared to the garners (granary) of the brain - grain/brainAssonance: the rich vowel sounds in glean’d and teeming express the wealth of the brainRepetition: Before conveys a sense of unfulfillment
7 A closer look at the second quatrain When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,And think that I may never live to traceTheir shadows, with the magic hand of chance;Vocabulary: high romance – the sublimeExplain how Keats uses personification to show the power of the sublime, the natural phenomenon around him and the imaginationWhat are the ‘cloudy symbols’ and the ‘shadows’?Explain the parallel between ‘the magic hand of chance’ and the poet as a writer.
8 Language/Imagery: Quatrain Two When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,And think that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;Develops the theme in the first quatrain, but begins to realise the loss of emotional fulfilment and life experiences. The Romantic ‘sublime’Personification: night – romantic notion of the magic of the natural world – heavens are pure and love transcends the earth/heavens barrierMetaphor extends the personification by reinforcing the notion of poetic inspiration derived from the natural worldAssonance of round and rich ‘o’ sounds at the start of the quatrain contrast with the harsh ‘a’ sounds of the ‘magic hand of chance’
9 A closer look at the third quatrain And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!That I shall never look upon thee more,Never have relish in the faery powerOf unreflecting love!--then on the shoreWhat is Keats trying to emphasis when he refers to his love as ‘fair creature of an hour!’?What is the effective of the repetition of the negative lexis ‘never’?This quatrain is interrupted by the caesura (--) What is the effect of this interruption and how does it emphasis Keats’ fears?
10 Language/Imagery: Quatrain Three And when I feel, fair creature of an hour! That I shall never look upon thee more,Never have relish in the faery power Of unreflecting love!--then on the shoreDevelops the themes of love especially mortal love and introduces the theme of futility.Change in this quatrain – direct address and an sense of urgency is expressed – an hour! Adds to the sense of urgency/desperationAlliteration of the soft ‘f’ sound alludes to the beauty and brevity of loveLexis turns negative – repetition of never. Progressive of the ‘may never’, ‘shall never’, ‘Never’ increases tension, desperationUnreflecting – ideal of romantic love, one sided, spontaneous loveCaesura – breaks the thought process and leads into the final rhyming couplet – change in mood from me, me, me to ….
11 A closer look at the rhyming couplet --then on the shoreOf the wide world I stand alone, and thinkTill love and fame to nothingness do sink.Sum up the mood in these closing lines. Identify the words which create this feeling.What is Keats’ final realization about fame and love?How does he use the metaphor to emphasize this point?
12 Language/Imagery: Rhyming couplet --then on the shoreOf the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.Inversion of the mood of the poem, but also a logical realisation by the poet of his own insignificance in the face of eternity. Overturns the rest of the sonnet.Discourse marker: Then indicates the shift in tone – Keats’ reality checkMetaphor of the shore: unobstructed view of the horizon, ‘I can see clearly now’Shore and Alone: the image of a lone person juxtaposed with the vastness and power of the oceanAlliteration: Wide World the ‘w’ sound emphasises the image of the vastness of space and timeMonosyllabic words: think, love, fame, sink in contrast to previous flowery romantic polysyllabic words – this reflects Keats reality checkParadoxical ending – he resolves his fear by asserting the unimportance of love and fame. Death makes it meaningless. Death is to be feared but in some ways it resolves the fears because it ends the fears!
13 Plenary Direct address: Why has Keats used this? First Person: How has this impacted the message relayed in the poem?How important are you?How much do you value yourself?What thoughts does Keats want to leave the reader?What image do you have of the poet?Does he progress from arrogance to humility?