54 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2017
    1. The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,The sickness of one of my folks, or of myself, or ill-doing, or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,These come to me days and nights, and go from me again,But they are not the Me myself.

      Here is another one of Whitman's lists, which sometimes are contraries: man or woman, days or nights, depressions or exaltations, etc. He seems to use the opposites of things a lot, perhaps to show the unity in everything. Even considering one's differences, there are more characteristics that bind things together and make them one.

    2. I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh, sing;

      Here is one of Whitman's uses of the em dash. He seems to want that extra pause, like in the ellipsis, but not as much in length. He also lists things, like in other stanzas, where he lists people of different status or occupation, some that even coincide with one another. He actually uses a semi-colon here, which is not common for most of his stanzas, and coincidentally this stanza is longer with more lines.

    3. I CELEBRATE myself,And what I assume you shall assume,For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.

      The opening lines of "Song of Myself" introduce the themes of transcendentalism and interconnectedness and carries a somewhat sexual connotation: the sharing of atoms. Statements like these were very controversial at the time because they held a suggestive, provocative undertone. Whitman wrote about intimacy and even homosexual relations, which was unheard of in his time period. The idea of "celebrating" one's self in a "song of myself" leaves room for the imagination and curiosity.

    4. 22I believe in you, my Soul—the other I am must not abase itself to you,And you must not be abased to the other.23Loafe with me on the grass—loose the stop from your throat, - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [begin page 28] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Not words, not music or rhyme I want—not custom or lecture, not even the best,Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.

      Once again, these ideas promote transcendentalism, since the speaker emphasizes his soul and its abilities. He also, like Emily Dickinson, decides to capitalize the word Soul, which almost gives it a special kind of power. Then again, he uses the word "loafe," which would be the third time in 23 stanzas. He personifies his own soul, giving it a "voice," and saying that nothing else he wants but to hear his own Soul.

    5. You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself.

      Here, Whitman prompts the reader that instead of depending on other sources to interpret or absord information, he should take the time to be "one" with the situation itself. This is one part of Whitman's individuality, an example of transcendentalism. Although we as humans are all connected, we stand alone in our own perceptions.

    6. I loafe and invite my Soul,I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.

      According to the Oxford-English Dictionary, to loafe is to "spend one's time in an aimless, idle way." However, the spelling of the word strikes my interest, since Whitman spells it with an added 'e.' I find Whitman's use of the word to be interesting, since he does use it twice in the same stanza. These stanzas are written in free verse--Whitman's preferred style--and vary in length. He also uses a variety of punctuation, especially the comma and the em dash, which suggests that he wants his readers to take that pause--however not as long as the ellipsis pause.

    1. To begin with, can anybody tell me why reporters, in making mention of lady speakers, always consider it to be necessary to report, fully and firstly the dresses worn by them? When John Jones or Senator Rouser frees his mind in public, we are left in painful ignorance of the color and fit of his pants, coat, necktie, and vest—and worse still, the shape of his boots. This seems to me a great omission. How can we possibly judge of his oratorical powers, of the strength or weakness of his logic, or of his fitness in any way to mount the platform, when these important points are left unsolved to our feeble feminine imaginations?

      Because people of this time period judged clothing harshly, it would make sense that society especially judged what women wore and how they presented themselves. She mentions two men in this passage--John Jones and Senator Rouser--and how whenever they spot, the reporter failed to comment on his attire. Since men didn't want women being knowledgeable or informed in the first place, in fear that a woman could be smarter than a man, it makes sense why they would find anything to degrade these women.She is using satire here, saying, "How are we to know how good a speaker is without knowing what he wears?" It is irrelevant and she addresses this subtly.

    2. broadcloth and kerseymere

      According to the Oxford-English Dictionary, broadcloth is "Clothing fabric of fine twilled wool or worsted, or plain-woven cotton" and kerseymere is "A fine twilled woollen cloth." Fern, although disguised, seems to be a feminist and one who certainly supports women's rights. She even attended a women's suffrage meeting, mentioned in this piece specifically. In this anecdote, Fern tales a story of her and her husband, calling sewing "women's never-failing resort." Some men thought women should stay sewing or tending the house and not writing, so this would be considered satirical.

    3. “A morning glory at my window, satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. . . .The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.”

      This is a perfect example of Whitman's transcendental work. The whole concept of transcendentalism is the idea of the self--the idea of expanding one's reality and higher-consciousness. In transcendentalism, there is no limits or boundaries, which is why Leaves of Grass is so intimate and controversial. Whitman connects all of us, from every age, race, gender, social status, etc. Anything that could potentially divide us, Whitman uses to bind us. Thus, in these lines, Whitman is saying that although books are metaphysical, he is more intrigued by the morning light and moonlight. Most transcendentalists would agree with this, that the earth was more enticing than anything man-made (like a book).

    4. John G. Saxe?

      John Godfrey Saxe was an American poet, born in 1816 in Highgate, Vermont. . He was most famous for his retelling of the tale, "The Blind Men and the Elephant." Unsuccessful, he ran for governor of Vermont in 1859 as a democrat, and his support of popular sovereignty made him quite unpopular. Popular sovereignty can be defined as "the principle that the authority of state and its government is created and sustained by the consent of its people." Fern seems to be mocking Saxe, since he failed to become president, and she writes it as "Governor of Vermont" to almost emphasize this. Perhaps she was one of many who disagreed with his beliefs, especially popular sovereignty, and the idea that people should not interfere with slavery.

    1. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world      upside down, all alone together women ought to be able to turn it

      Here, Truth discusses the power of women working together in numbers. At this time, women did not have the right to vote, especially not black women such as herself, but women were starting to work together on this issue. Women would not receive the right to vote until 1919, but Truth was definitely an advocate for gender equality. She believes in the power of a woman, and she believes that if God's first woman was strong enough to flip the world upside down, then women together could flip it back around. Thus, women together could make the world a better place.

  2. Mar 2017
    1. Paley,

      William Paley was an English writer who wrote "The Duty of Submission to Civil Government," which Thoreau greatly opposed. Paley, a Christian, clergyman, and philosopher, fought against revolution and any kind of government rebellion or resistance. He believed it was "the will of God" to obey one's government no matter the circumstances. Paley embraced natural science and anatomy, and in some of his work, he carried the metaphor of a watch--which resulted in the Watchmaker Theory. This theory held the belief that the world compared to a watch.

    2. powder-monkeys

      Interestingly enough, a powder-monkey, as described by the Oxford-English Dictionary, is "a boy employed on a sailing warship to carry powder to the guns." Here, Thoreau the men involved in war and questions their humanity, if industrialization has dehumanized them. This goes along with existentialism and transcendentalism, since both questioned one's existence and acknowledged the soul. Here, Thoreau believes the men are not men at all but products of war.

    3. The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus,

      According to the Oxford DIctionary, the word "posse comitatus" refers to the Latin term, meaning "power or force of the county" (Wikipedia). It can also refer to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, signed by President Hayes. This Act "prohibited the use of the military in civilian law enforcement." Wikipedia also does a nice job explaining this Act, which limited the use of armies in domestic American disputes. Thus, the American Act limits the power of the army in daily enforcement, which would be the opposite of the term itself. Thoreau references this term to compare the working-men to that of machines, where they fulfil their duties in order to avoid federal punishment.

    1. Even Mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day.

      The word "Mammon," as described by the Oxford-English Dictionary, refers to "the evil influence or false object of worship and devotion." This word is derived from the Greek word mamonas, taken from New Testaments Matt 6.24 and Luke 16:9-3). Here, Douglass seems to be saying that on Independence Day, Mammon backs off for a bit, since even he recognizes the day's importance. Wealth and greed don't play a part in this day since the independece process was so important and dignified.

    2. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men

      A mix between "dotard" and "bastard," the word "dastard," as described by the Oxford-English Dictionary, is a "dishonourable or despicable man." Here, Douglass makes a point that America was justified for breaking away from Britain, and any man who disagrees with this would be a dastard. However, the people who opposed Britain used to cause troubles within society, and he is using this comparison to tie into his own enslavement. Douglass felt trapped by his circumstances, although abolition was considered taboo at the time, like independence from Britain at one point.

  3. Dec 2016
    1. Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began to beat

      Once again, the author longs to be in his homeland, which is presumably India, considering the next battle. According to these lines the speaker's father died due to war and he was left to his selfish uncle. He is experiencing a lot of bitterness, clearly.

    2. will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.

      The speaker seems to be extremely racist and aggressive. By incorporating the word "take," there are assumptions of rape, or at least aggression. And he never specifies which race he considers to be "savage," but by the way he refers to the rest of the east, he could mean an eastern culture, which he still desires to go to. According to http://search.ebscohost.com.pitt.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,uid&db=aph&AN=95462829&scope=site, Victorian writers often wrote about the dominance and control men had over women.

    3. Thro’ the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day: Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay

      According to the textbook, China at this time was considered a "static, unprogressive country." Here, he compares British life once again to eastern culture, and this reference of the East is a form of Orientalism. This scholarly journal talks a lot about Tennyson's love for orientalism and why, exactly, he found use for it in his pieces. Since the speaker wants to be somewhere else, it would seem like he would glorify the East--but not China. The speaker thinks poorly of China, obviously, and there is some racism throughout the piece.

  4. Nov 2016
    1. Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua’s moon in Ajalon

      This is a Biblical reference, regarding a location in the land of Israel. Joshua 10:12 explains what this allusion means: "Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, 'O sun, stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Ajalon.'"

    2. Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:

      The part that says "for mine I knew not" suggests that the speaker did not associate much with his mother. According to Tennyson's biography, found on https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/lord-alfred-tennyson, Tennyson's father raised his brothers and him and educated them. Perhaps the speaker, or Tennyson himself, feels estranged from his mother and very distant from her.

    3. Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match’d with mine

      Obviously, right here, the speaker admits that women are lesser than men and that everything a woman feels, a man can feel as well. The following lines suggest that a woman matches up with moonlight--femininity, yet a dimmer light--while men match up with the sun. And as women equal water, men equal wine--water that has been transformed.

    4. Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife, When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life

      The speaker wants so desperately to return to a time when he didn't feel so broken-hearted. In the Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature, there are passages about this poem and one of them discusses the speaker. Tennyson went on to write a sequel called "Locksley Hall Sixty Years After," proving that the speaker is just a young boy. In addition, the older persona feels much more at peace and accepting of his past. However, the present speaker questions everything and feels the world has wronged him. He wants so badly to go back to a time when he was eager, when he anticipated the future and was so full of optimism. Perhaps it took awhile for him to accept his fate and is looking back, years later.


    5. wild Mahratta-battle

      This refers to the battle of Assaye. This can be found on https://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/battle-assaye. On September 23rd, 1803, the Mahrattas (a Hindu confederacy) were defeated by the East India Company. Here, the speaker's father faltered in this battle.

    6. Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast, Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.

      The repetition of both stanzas is definitely worth noting. Also, the speaker believes that wisdom sadly carries his experience and memories, and works toward not having to live with these things.

    7. Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore, And the individual withers, and the world is more and more

      The speaker juxtaposes himself with wisdom, which is acquired only through experience. As the individual himself fades, he connects with the world more and more--only through the experience he gained and lessons he has learned.

    8. From the nations’ airy navies grappling in the central blue

      Here comes the nation reference, again. The speaker emphasizes the importance of war within nations, how they hold onto their navies.

    9. argosies of magic sails

      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an argosy is "a merchant-vessel of the largest size and burn, especially those of Ragusa and Venice." In this Vision of the World, these massive ships have magical sails.

    10. guinea

      According to the oxford-English dictionary, this most likely refers to the Guinea of Africa, which is the West Coast. Although there were a few definitions for this, I noticed his later inclusion of the word "nations."

    11. “They were dangerous guides the feelings—she herself was not exempt—        95 Truly, she herself had suffer’d”—Perish in thy self-contempt

      As either someone--or the woman herself--sympathizes with Amy, the speaker disregards all of this and feels no compassion for her. He doesn't believe that she, too, went through pain, and tells the person to stop self-loathing.

    12. With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter’s heart

      "A little hoard of maxims" seems to mean a collection of self-evident propositions solved in mathematical reasons. Perhaps this stanza means that she thought with her brain and not her heart, and soon she will find her petty self troubled because she is unhappy and chose the wrong decision.

    13. vex

      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to "vex" is to cause trouble or to harass. The speaker wants his cousin Amy to feel bad about her decision.

    14. dog

      This is a recurring symbol throughout the piece. Whenever the speaker compares the depth of the lord's love, he uses a dog in his example. Dogs represent faith, loyalty, and fidelity.

    15. Comfort? comfort scorn’d of devils! this is truth the poet sings,        75 That a sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

      The speaker seems to have a lot of resentment towards memories, since he curses the act of recall and remember. Here, he says that sorrow's crown, or its garment, is the act of remembering happier things and the comparison to the past. There is a constant disconnect and longing between the past and present.

    16. Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore? No—she never loved me truly: love is love for evermore

      The speaker questions whether it would be better just to pretend she were dead, so he doesn't have to experience the heartbreak. This way, he can put her for rest and embrace the love she did give--but then the speaker realizes she never gave real, unconditional love, since that love is never-ending.

    17. Saying, “I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong;” Saying, “Dost thou love me, cousin?” weeping, “I have loved thee long.”        30   Love took up the glass of Time, and turn’d it in his glowing hands; Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands

      These lines seem to suggest that by the time the cousin confesses her love, it is already too late. She admits that she has had these feelings for a long time, and then she asks the speaker if he, too, feels this way. But everything following seems to mean that they don't have a life together, and things are unsolvable.

    18. Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind

      Does comfort come from not remembering things or focusing in on the past? The speaker wonders if he can ignore what happened and find comfort that way.

    19. As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown, And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

      The speaker, feeling extremely angry, tells his cousin that she befriends or is involved with a clown, or a fool. He is still heated that she didn't choose him or confess sooner.

    20. Is it well to wish thee happy? having known me—to decline On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine

      Because she did not confess her feelings, the speaker wonders whether he should wish her happy. He wonders if he should wish her well despite her previous hesitation to admit her feelings.

    21. Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,        35 And her whisper throng’d my pulses with the fullness of the Spring

      The word "copse", according to the Oxford English dictionary, is a small group of trees. The speaker, once going outside and noticing nature, pays close attention to the copses and how they identify and mark spring.

    22. Smote

      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to smote is to "pollute or blemish." Perhaps the word used here means that love pollutes life and the Self. When one falls in love, he/she loses sight of him/herself,

    23. id I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.

      A great constellation named after the mythological Orion, who was a Greek hunter. He is also considered to be heroic in Greek culture.

    24. 636. Locksley Hall  Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)

      I would like to "claim" this poem! Thank you!

  5. Oct 2016
  6. www.poetryfoundation.org www.poetryfoundation.org
    1. And life is thorny; and youth is vain; And to be wroth with one we love Doth work like madness in the brain.

      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, thorny can be described as painful or hurtful--to "prick" emotion. The definition for wroth is to "have deep anger or resentment." Thus, the speaker makes more comparisons here. Life is hurtful, but in youth, we only see ourselves. We eventually grow older and learn to hate those we love--which works like madness in the brain and destroys us slowly. Leoline and his friend used to be like brothers, but life tore them apart and made them hate one another. Both of them haven't been the same since.

    2. But Christabel in dizzy trance Stumbling on the unsteady ground Shuddered aloud, with a hissing sound; And Geraldine again turned round, And like a thing, that sought relief, Full of wonder and full of grief, She rolled her large bright eyes divine Wildly on Sir Leoline.

      It almost seems as if Geraldine, in this moment, takes hold of Christabel and possesses her. Geraldine figuratively becomes the snake of the speaker's dream. With success, she takes hold of Christabel while still manipulating Christabel's father. Then--a stark contrast--she rolls her bright eyes divine onto Leoline himself, who has no idea what's going on. She is plotting her next victim by seeming as divine as she did with Christabel.

    3. I stooped, methought, the dove to take, When lo! I saw a bright green snake Coiled around its wings and neck. Green as the herbs on which it couched, Close by the dove's its head it crouched; And with the dove it heaves and stirs, Swelling its neck as she swelled hers!

      In a Biblical sense, snakes usually represent evil, slyness, and deceitfulness. Snakes, as referred to in Genesis, occur during temptation tactics. Doves, on the other hand, represent peace and love. If the narrator dreams of a snake choking a dove, then the snake must have won. Deceitfulness and delusion won against a potential time of peace. This directly relates to Geraldine, who has disrupted the peace in Christabel's life.

    4. 'Thy words, thou sire of Christabel, Are sweeter than my harp can tell;

      The mention of the word "harp" is interesting, since Coleridge wrote about the eolian harp in his other pieces. Bracy, feeling optimistic about the harp, compares it to Christabel's words. He obviously feels very close to her and values her words. She must mean a lot to him, and it is shown here through comparison.

  7. Sep 2016
    1. The homely Nurse doth all she can82To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,83               Forget the glories he hath known,84And that imperial palace whence he came.

      This stanza is entirely metaphoric. Here, Earth is compared to a "homely Nurse"; "Nurse," of course, has been capitalized and almost given authority. Wordsworth describes the earth as the nurse, and the people who inhabit earth, then, as "her Foster-child." After some analysis, it is evident that the speaker believes Earth makes people forget the after-life. The "imperial palace whence he came" obviously refers to Heaven, so the speaker thinks Earth makes people far-removed from anything spiritual, and their memories of past-lives.

    2. To me alone there came a thought of grief:23A timely utterance gave that thought relief,

      These lines are a perfect example of the strophe/antistrophe structure. The definition of "strophe" by the Oxford English Dictionary is "one of two or more metrically corresponding series of lines forming divisions of a lyric poem." These strophes and antistrophes are typical of Greek poetry--and Odes such as this one. Here, the antistrophe seems to begin and end quickly, starting at line 22. The speaker, here, battles thoughts of grief. Immediately after, in line 23, the strophe occurs, where he feels himself lifted of these burdens.

    1. Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air34Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

      The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word "warble" (verb) as "to modulate the voice in singing; to sing with trills and quavers." In the previous lines, the speaker states that he cannot imagine not loving a world where the breeze sings or is melodious. Still air, then, is the breeze simply sleeping on the harp or instruments alike, which depend on the air.

    2. How by the desultory breeze caressed,16Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,

      According to the Oxford English Dictionary, desultory is defined as "skipping about, jumping or flitting from one thing to another; devious, unsteady." Here, Coleridge paints a clear image for the reader. The audience can imagine a maid caressing her lover, and he compares this to the breeze. The breeze, then, stops to caress the harp before moving onto something else; it is as fleeting as the coy maid.

    1. the hour will come When all these splendours bursting on my sight Shall stand unveil'd, and to my ravish'd sense Unlock the glories of the world unknown

      Since the word "splendour," by Oxford's definition, means brilliant light, this poem ends on a positive note. Barbould is stating that the time will come when these spiritual wonders make sense to her, that a "world unknown" will unfold itself. The word "ravished," according to Oxford, means to be "transported in spirit or with some strong emotion"--synonymous to captivated. One day, Barbould will no longer be blinded to the world's mysteries and will be able to see clearly.

    2. lustres

      Described by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the quality or condition of shining by reflected light"

    3. grotto

      The Oxford English Dictionary describes this as a cave or cavern, especially one which is picturesque.