61 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2017
    1. He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor, the historian, that the Kaatskill mountains had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon; being permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river and the great city called by his name. That his father had once seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at ninepins in the hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like distant peals of thunder.

      This solidifies the fact that these ghosts are “real” (at least in the world of the narrative) since they have been noted by other people then just Rip, and have similar stories of interactions/observations between the Dutch ghosts and members of the town.

    2. He doubted his own identity, and whether he was himself or another man.

      This moment provides an example of an existentialist dilemma in the form of dissociative dread toward his understanding of self. Rip’s confusion is so strong that it causes him to doubt the nature of his own being.

    3. stared at him with such a fixed statue-like gaze, and such strange uncouth, lack-lustre countenances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote together.

      This is a moment defining real fear towards his current predicament.

    4. On nearer approach, he was still more surprised at the singularity of the stranger’s appearance. He was a short, square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion—a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist—several pairs of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with his usual alacrity;

      These Dutch ghosts are part of the history of the area but are also tangible forces that drive the plot. Rip can physically interact with these ghosts as if they were normal people, the only thing that proves odd is that they do not speak. Regardless, they are ghosts that are more like echoes of a time past that can be encountered, rather than being antagonistic like the ambiguous forces that Poe presents in his works.

    5. As he was about to descend, he heard a voice from a distance hallooing: “Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!” He looked around, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he heard the same cry ring through the still evening air, “Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!”—at the same time Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his master’s side, looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anxiously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight of something he carried on his back. He was surprised to see any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place, but supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of his assistance, he hastened down to yield it.

      This build up provides a sense of apprehension, with Wolf detecting some sort of danger and the odd way that Rip’s name was being called through echo. This does not stop him from proceeding onward to make his chance meeting with the company of Dutch ghosts. 

    6. “Oh! that flagon! that wicked flagon!”

      A loose connection to Poe within the realm of alcahol playing a part in altered mind states.

    7. His mind now misgave him; he began to doubt whether both he and the world around him were not bewitched.

      The assumption that one has come under a spell or some other form of witchcraft would be a real fear for people of the time. Many believed the early superstitions, and while they acted as explanations for things they could not explain, they acted as warnings and preventive measures for certain behavior. Stories of ghosts and witches could be used to keep people away from dangerous territories, or provide lessons about needing to be more attentive to the possible dangers found outside of the safety of civilization. Irvings other works (like Legend of Sleepy Hallow) highlight the impact that fear can has on the mind.

    8. The moment Wolf entered the house, his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled between his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle, he would fly to the door with yelping precipitation.

      This is a light bit of foreshadowing, noting that the dog has a sense for danger. It comes up again when Rip is about to encounter the Dutch ghosts.

    9. The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. It could not be for want of assiduity or perseverance

      Rip as a character is surprisingly similar to Irving in his mannerisms. Though it is not as widely known, Irving had a similar aversion to labor due to a massive amount of anxiety brought on by the failure of his brother’s businesses after the Revolution. The fear of the state of the new nation was noticeable in how drastically the economy was shifting, which was one of the deciding factors that pushed Irving into writing and publishing. It was a way to secure some financial stability and support for his family’s livelihood while also avoiding ventures that could, at any moment due to the young nation’s “growing pains”, could fail and lead to ruin (Kopec).

    10. ghosts, witches, and Indians.

      Most of the early American folklore has been lost to time, since many of these stories were told mainly by word of mouth alone. Irving was one of the first to solidify local folklore in his works, practically starting the genre of “campfire narratives” in literature. His short piece of horror fiction, Legend of Sleepy Hallow, is what pioneered the American Gothic form of literature, which would be later built upon by writers like Poe.


      The annotations below are focused on the themes and language of American gothic horror and the connection to another text located here.

      Associated Sources in MLA Style:

      Badenhausen, Richard. "Fear and Trembling in Literature of the Fantastic: Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Black Cat'." Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 29, no. 4, 1992, pp. 487-498. EBSCOhost.

      Bann, Jennifer. "Ghostly Hands and Ghostly Agency: The Changing Figure of the Nineteenth-Century Specter." Victorian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Social, Political, and Cultural Studies, vol. 51, no. 4, 2009, pp. 663-686. EBSCOhost.

      Kopec, Andrew. "Irving, Ruin, and Risk." Early American Literature, vol. 48, no. 3, Nov. 2013, pp. 709-735. EBSCOhost.

      Norton, Mary Berth. "Witchcraft in the Anglo-American Colonies." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 4, July 2003, pp. 5-9. EBSCOhost.

    1. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name—and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared—it was now, I say, the image of a hideous—of a ghastly thing—of the GALLOWS!—oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime—of Agony and of Death!

      Here is a distinct fear of the gallows, something the narrator has told us he is condemned to for his crime at the beginning of his tale. The fear outlined in this sentence represents the narrator’s true fear, the fear of facing what he has done. The gallows are an object for delivering punishment through the death of the criminal. The narrator constantly faced fear, guilt, and anger but fails to address their effects throughout the story. He instead chooses to run away from these emotions by burying them in alcohol or just remove them from his life with violence. This is the only moment that causes the narrator to seize up and deliver short hyphenated statements, which to a reader would sound quick and manic. This fear is an existential fear of closure and finality, now that the narrator has own death it shows through the text a moment of vulnerability (Badenhausen 492-493).

    2. But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb!—by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman—a howl—a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation.

      Here the replacement cat (and possible paranormal force) acts upon the plot by revealing the narrators misdeeds. Like Irving’s Dutch ghosts, this mysterious cat is integral to the story for without their influence the main characters would be unaffected. Again, this cat provides another confusing instance of possible paranormal power by somehow ending up inside the wall. The narrator hated the creature so much, how could he have missed it as he bricked up his wife’s corpse? It either had managed to avoid detection to hide itself within the wall, or had some greater power that allowed it to appear there as it had in the tavern. 

    3. I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan.

      This is the point of no return, where the narrator goes from mere killer of beast to full villain with manslaughter. He is unmoved by killing the thing that prevented him from taking out his anger again, she had interrupted his control and for that she died.

    4. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of the breast. Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it—knew nothing of it—had never seen it before.

      Just like the mark on the wall, this is another stange occuance that could be related to the paranormal. This cat appears out of nowhere and specifically targets the narrator. It could be seen as an antagonistic force, a manifestation meant to spell the narrator’s downfall. Again, Pluto’s name is referenced, calling back to the idea of death and relating it to this new cat. Its lack of an eye is an intentional narrative decision by Poe, but in the world inside the text is strangely coincidental to be near identical to Pluto, almost unsettling so. What is interesting about this cat is that the white tuft of fur it sports “develops” the image of the stockade. Either an outside force is at work on the cat’s fur, or the cat itself is a doppelganger (a supernatural creature that morphs its own body to match another’s appearance) of sorts.

    5. I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvellous. There was a rope about the animal’s neck.

      This odd occurrence might be attributed to something paranormal. As the narrator later explains, it is physically possible for flesh remains to leave burn impressions on surfaces. However, the corpse of the cat would have to have been resting against the wall for that impression to develop, and the chances of that happening to produce such a haunting representation is highly improbable. Perhaps there was some sort of other force at work and it made possible the author’s explanation or something else entirely. Whatever the case, it remains unknown, but a reader can confirm that within the world of the narrative because it is a tangible remnant viewed by multiple people and not just the narrator.

    6. One night as I sat, half stupified, in a den of more than infamy

      The narrator never seeks to remedy his situation, only to run from it or drink it away.

    7. I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty

      These are the common themes Poe tends to play on throughout his body of work, which are tied to very personal and emotional moments. A healthy human mind is capable of a vast array of different feelings, each meant to inform thought via bodily sensations and responses. If the narrator can comprehend the emotions, but does not associate them to his crime, is it an effect of alcohol? Could it be something darker, something stemming from a broken mind? 

    8. spirit of PERVERSENESS

      This is not a "physical" sprit like those in Irving's works. In this case, "spirit" embodies the “feeling” or the “quality of” what it is referencing. The spirit of perverseness would be something of a compulsion, something internal that forces negative action and/or thought.

    9. Pluto

      This is a bit of plain faced foreshadowing. Pluto is the Roman equivalent of Hades, the god of death and overseer for the underworld. The name calls upon the imagery of darkness and death, which no doubt plays into the narrative throughout.

    10. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise.

      The concept of the witch played a large role in the development of colonial America, and the superstitions surrounding witchcraft are usually connected to larger outside forces that were difficult to explain or comprehend. Disease, injury, misfortune, and other tragic events that would occur were often blamed on fellow townsfolk that had preexisting issues or disagreements with others (Norton 5-6). Due to the empiricist model of thought, perception defined reality, so all that was required to prove someone was capable of witchcraft was to “experience” the effects. If someone said they saw a person turn into a cat, it was taken as proper testimony to the event.

      It is interesting that the wife holds this belief, yet the narrator downplays it. Perhaps that is a veiled critique of these old superstitions.

    11. But my disease grew upon me—for what disease is like Alcohol!

      Poe was a known alcholic, so it is interesting how he comments on it a being a "disease" with this narrator character. Perhaps there is more self-inserted introspection involved then his usual themes of guilt, sadness, and loss noteable in his other works.

    12. THE BLACK CAT.

      The annotations below are focused on the themes and language of American gothic horror and the connection to another text located here.

      Associated Sources in MLA Style:

      Badenhausen, Richard. "Fear and Trembling in Literature of the Fantastic: Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Black Cat'." Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 29, no. 4, 1992, pp. 487-498. EBSCOhost.

      Bann, Jennifer. "Ghostly Hands and Ghostly Agency: The Changing Figure of the Nineteenth-Century Specter." Victorian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Social, Political, and Cultural Studies, vol. 51, no. 4, 2009, pp. 663-686. EBSCOhost.

      Kopec, Andrew. "Irving, Ruin, and Risk." Early American Literature, vol. 48, no. 3, Nov. 2013, pp. 709-735. EBSCOhost.

      Norton, Mary Berth. "Witchcraft in the Anglo-American Colonies." OAH Magazine of History, vol. 17, no. 4, July 2003, pp. 5-9. EBSCOhost.

    1. Put this in the crown of your hats, gentlemen! A fool of either sex is the hardest animal to drive that ever required a bit. Better one who jumps a fence now and then, than your sulky, stupid donkey, whose rhinoceros back feels neither pat or goad.

      Rough paraphrase: “Get this through your heads! An idiot, male or female, is the hardest thing to convince to change their mind. It is better to have someone that completely surprises you now and again with his or her ideas, instead of someone who remains so stubbornly close-minded they cannot feel good or bad about it.”

      This is the closing “emotional punch” required to grab a reader, perhaps even agitate them. as long as it draws attention, it can be an effective tactic to illustrate the point the author wishes to make. With an approach that is both emotional and even mildly condescending, this is the form of editorial form Fern is talking about women needing to apply themselves to throughout the body of her own editorial.

    2. crinoline

      Crinoline is the name of a stiff fabric made of a mix of threads and horsehair. It is most often used for giving structure to petticoats and is a common lining for garments. Hoop skirts are also referred to as a crinoline, due to the majority of its frame support being comprised of the material. Strips of crinoline would be attached to a starting hoop (normally the top hoop that sits at the waist) with heavy thread, wire, or rope. Subsequent hoops of increasing size could be attached while the crinoline is bent down and outward to achieve a noticeable “bell” shape. Cheaply made frames could be fragile and easily damaged by applying pressure to the structure, making sitting and moving around a constant concern for the wearer. Stronger frames were more expensive, but were also much heavier due to the types of materials used. Where lighter frames could be made of soft wood or leather hoops, others were made of whalebone or steel, making for a very cumbersome garment.

      Moving in one of these stronger frames would be even more difficult, not only does the weight slow down the wearer; the unbending frames often make sitting or even passing through narrow openings nearly impossible. Though certain artisans could make changes and generate more user friendly designs, these crinolines would remain burdensome. Many women began to forgo them for lighter and more open options, sometimes referring to them as cages or weights. There are even notable print and stage parodies of these frames that highlight the bulky nature of the frames. Characters comically bump into others, knock over furniture, get stuck in odd places, or are vain caricatures with impossibly wide frames that match their egos.

    3. termagant

      Literally just a word for a “violently” scornful woman, in this context it is probably poking at a demeaning prudishness. However, in other literary sources that predate Fern, “termagant” appears to reference ranting in a belligerent manner, like that of a nag or a bully. There are even references to old medieval plays, where a fictional deity embodies the more negative aspects of the term by asserting itself as a moral authority whilst acting shrewdly.

    4. Turkish trousers

      “Turkish trousers” are the European name for the culturally adopted Ottoman dimije. Dimije are baggy pants that gather just above the ankle, which aid in dispelling heat with their flowing material and breezy nature. Normally worn by common folk in the areas of Turkey, India, and the Middle East, the European empires had influenced widespread cultural mixing via trade and colonization that brought many new styles back West. Fashion began to shift into being a form of self-expression (more like our modern interpretation of the use of clothing) instead of a marker of class level. Women’s movements took in these new cultural styles in order to address oppression by linking traditional clothing models to ideas of confinement, restriction, and encumbrance. These changes of clothing were like shedding of shackles, they became visual political statements that can be made publicly that could harken to the larger movements passively.

    1. that little man in black there say a woman can't have as much rights as a man      cause Christ wasn't a woman

      This "little man in black" must be a priest, likely one from a better established or higher church position if he is in the traditional black robes instead of plainclothes. Flimsy justification has been used from positions of power to explain away blatant contradictions, and many religious institutions are historically notorious for this. It is reminiscent of Cotton Mather and his justifications of “moral slavery” in The Negro Christianized, where the use of some dubious logic and religious rhetoric sets up a precedent that can be easily abused. It appears to be the same in this case, where this priest puts forth the argument that men and women are not equal, no doubt using church literature to justify his point. Though these arguments seem easily open for debate, the unfortunate truth is that centers of faith were the corner stones of society for generations, acting as the main moral authorities for those they shepherded. Debating them would be like debating their legitimacy, practically questioning the words of god himself. If this priest were to say that women are second to men, it would be hard to argue without the massive backlash. In a way, it is a powerful form of self-fulfilling language, if it is to be said then the congregation will agree. Whether it is out of faith or out of fear, the reactions are still controlled by the “bandwagoning” logical fallacy, and it puts the dissenting argument vulnerable to attack. It should be noted that even today this very argument is still used in some of the more “extreme” religious sectors around the world, but as people open up to discussion and engage in proper argument, no doubt these discrepancies could be dismantled and the idea of equality could replace segregation.

  2. Mar 2017
    1. remonstrance

      This is a form of protest or a specific document outlining the reasons for protest/opposition, mainly used in political and theological context. Simply put, “the ‘protest’ of the Apostles” refers to disagreements the followers of Jesus had with human law that contradicted or attempted to supersede the rules put in place by God through Jesus as a teacher. These instances are found all throughout scripture, and they always point back to the holiest and highest authority as being the right and just ruler of the people.

    2. Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

      I could imagine that this made the crowd very uncomfortable. It is one thing to point out hypocrisies and injustice at the hands of the maliciously ignorant, but to bluntly point at the blissfully/well-intended ignorant and honestly put them in the positon where they can see their own missteps is presumably more effective. Taking a common concept and then turning it into an argumentative weapon is as simple as realizing a pre-existing level of cognitive dissonance. Douglass is correct, what does a day of freedom mean to a people that are not free? Why then would these people want to speak about it? A sense of shame is put upon the crowd not for their inaction, but for their assumption and their generalizations that, in all honesty, may have been unknowingly delaying the situation of slavery through their ignorance. It is sometimes the biting critique of the subtle action that makes for a lasting and thoughtful argument.

    1. Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage

      Gaius Marius is a famous Roman general turned statesman who is considered to be “The Third Founder of Rome” for his infamous restructuring of the Roman armies to include the common Romans (known as the “Marian Reforms” that lifted the strict enlistment restrictions based around land ownership) and a long list of other populist reforms. Before his rise to fame and power, he served under the family of the Scipii, stationed with a massive army led by Scipio Africanus that would go to conquer the Carthaginians by sacking their capitol, Carthage. Though Marius would see Carthage in ruin as a common soldier, this is not what is being referenced by Melville. Marius would climb the political ladder over the years in order to achieve such fame, but his populist view alienated him from the other jealous (and wealthy) politicians, and he would see many of his reforms dismantled. A civil war broke out, and though Marius tried his best to defend Rome, he was forced to flee or he would face death at the hands of his opposition. This is when Marius would return to the ruins of Carthage. However, this time he was disillusioned, and was often found “brooding” by his few supporters assisting him in this form of exile to keep hidden from those who would see him killed. Bartleby finds himself in a similar situation; a grim form of imprisonment born of ideals, that stood for the greater good, only to be tested in contemplation by the jailer that is the opposition.

    2. dyspeptic

      Normally referring to indigestion, it can also be a synonym for irritability. In this sentence, “with a(n) ‘irritable’ nervousness” would be better phrased as “with anxiousness” or “with distress”.

    3. luny

      A shorter slang version of lunatic, which is an adjective meant to describe insanity or great foolishness. It is a sibling of the more commonly used adjective form of loon or loony. All of these words share an ancestor in luna, a Latin word referencing the moon. Lunacy and thusly lunatic are derived out of the old pseudoscientific belief that the phases of the moon controlled the mental states of man and beast, and these terms grew around this notion.

  3. Dec 2015
    1. the sad heart of Ruth

      Ruth is one of the ancestors to the Biblical David, and from Jesus. Her story is a small section within the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament refereed to as the Book/Scroll of Ruth.

      In brief summary; Ruth became a widow and decided to follow her mother back to their ancestral home of Bethlehem where she eventually remarries after a long time in the fields.

      In this stanza, Keats wonders is Ruth had heard the Nightingale's song, and if it had perhaps helped her too.

      Here is a link to the passage.

      "Ruth, Book of." Macmillan Dictionary of the Bible. N.p.: Collins, 2002. Credo Reference. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 6 Dec. 2015. http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/macdbib/ruth_book_of/0.

    2. musk-rose

      musk rose, n. - An autumn-flowering, climbing garden rose, Rosa moschata (not known for certain to exist in the wild), with large white musk-scented flowers growing in clusters. Also: any of certain hybrids evolved from this (more fully hybrid musk rose).

      This entire stanza relies heavily on scent, as before his other senses are heightened by the lack of vision. The "musk-rose" is a strange flower, mostly because they are so common they can practically go unseen. It is only because of its strong scent it gains the attention of passersby or insects to pollinate. In the next like he can hear the flies which are attracted to the musk of the flower.

      "musk rose, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 6 December 2015.

    3. immortal Bird

      Ok, so it would not be the bird that is immortal, but it's song? The bird sings all over the scale (pitch, tone, etc.), so the song would not be consistent trough time. The feeling upon hearing the birds sound however, may be the repeatable occurrence through the ages.

  4. Nov 2015
    1. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades

      The bird leaves, but from here so does the rest of the sensory imagery other then sight. All that was previously felt is now gone, returning to normality as this bird-ly muse exits.

    2. sod

      I know this means dirt or turf. So referring to himself as "a sod" it is like saying "dumb as dirt." At least here it is out of awe to the singing of the nightingale, to be "dumb-struck."

    3. To cease upon the midnight with no pain

      As to not give up life in some way, but to experience something free of mortal pains through death. Speculative of course.

    4. I have been half in love with easeful Death

      Death comes as an inevitability, but here it comes as morbid curiosity. The narrator is not suicidal, but ponders about death in a way that philosophers would.

    5. soft incense

      Not real incense, just the strong scents of nature. He cannot see what he is smelling in the darkness, making his sense of smell all the more keen.

    6. with the breezes blown

      More tangible feeling imagery then before, everyone will know what a breeze would feel like.

    7. dull brain perplexes and retards
    8. Bacchus

      Bacchus, n. - The god of wine; hence, wine, intoxicating liquor. son of Bacchus: a tippler.

      This must be the Roman equivalent of Dionysus. Note that he states hes not being moved by the god of wine (or intoxication to be specific) but by "the viewless wings of Poesy," which referring to the annotations in our text refers to poetic imagination.

      "Bacchus, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 18 November 2015.

    9. Where palsy shakes a few

      Palsy, n. - 1. a. Paralysis or paresis (weakness) of all or part of the body, sometimes with tremor; an instance of this. In earlier use, freq. with the. Now chiefly with distinguishing word.

      A sign of aging, another numbness to pain reference.

      "palsy, n.1 and adj.1." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 18 November 2015.

    10. beaded bubbles

      Strange, distilled and aged wines do not normally have bubbles formed once poured. The only thing I can think of that would be like a wine and bubbles is champagne. Is this intentionally added?

    11. a beaker full of the warm South

      French wine I would assume, it would be something relate back to the "vintage" he mentions that is from somewhere South of England notable for its wine. So he is drunk currently.

    12. Tasting of Flora and the country green

      To taste like "Flora" or "country green" I think of how a strong smell can have a taste sit at the back of your mouth. I would not expect either of these to taste very good, at the most bitter. Perhaps that connects to the alcohol of the wine.

    13. hemlock I had drunk
    14. drowsy numbness pains

      Would this be considered a contradiction? Feeling numb but somehow a pain? Perhaps its an emotional pain to a physical numbness.

    15. beechen green

      Beechen, adj. - 1. Of, pertaining to, or derived from the beech.

      These trees have a strange look to them. They are quite large and have huge canopies, but their branches are not uniform. They bend and twist in all sorts of directions. Birds will be birds roosting where they can, but why would this "Dryad" and its song be associated with this ghastly tree?

      "beechen, adj." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 18 November 2015.

    16. Dryad of the trees

      Dryad, n. - 1. In Greek Mythol. and Roman Mythol. A nymph supposed to inhabit trees; a wood-nymph.

      It is an interesting connection to portray the nightingale as a highly alluring spirit. Keats really takes a liking to this type of bird.

      "dryad, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 18 November 2015.


      Decided to look up what the bird sounded like. It comes across as shrill and sporadic with no real pattern to it. It holds a listeners attention presumably because you do not know what it will "sing" next.

  5. Oct 2015
    1.  I bit my arm, I suck'd the blood, 160  And cried, A sail! a sail!

      The imagery in this stanza is of dehydration, where the crew is weary and hot to the point of not having a wet enough mouth to speak. These two lines in particular stand out;

      1. The Mariner has seen something and had to convey it to his crew. However, due to his condition he needed something to be able to wet his mouth to speak. He purposely harms himself for the sake of his crew by biting into his arm so hard he wet his mouth with blood. This is an interesting contrast to the punishment the crew gave him by forcing him to hang the Albatross around his neck, because here he harms himself in order to perhaps save his crew.

      2. The Mariner cries out that he sees a sail of a ship, but as we read on said ship are life and death incarnate who hail their ship and board as to play dice for the mens' souls. The question is if these figures are all just hallucinations brought on dehydration. This would mean that what the Mariner is really addressing the worry of the lives of his crew in a metaphorical sense, and most of it forms as doubt. Will his crew live or die? Is what he seeing real or not? Both ideas become personified in this shift into hallucination.

    2. And to teach, by his own example, love and reverence to all things that God made and loveth.

      Here is the ending moral of the Mariner's story, as well as the moral conclusion of the poem itself. The last four stanzas cover the importance in treating nature with respect, but it is more direct in this gloss. Coleridge writes this as if the "note taker" had summarized eight lines of moral guidance into a single sentence like that of a fable. As the story of the Mariner, it is an chilling message that stresses to the wedding attendant to be a wiser man and not be humbled as low as he had for shooting the Albatross.

      Looking at it as a message to the reader, it carries a similar idea, but allows one to follow Coleridge's Unitarian beliefs in context. This connection the Mariner had with nature is that of a rise and fall, but yet in the fall he experiences a moment of wonder looking out at the world (in this case the sea-snakes prior) that allows him to live on. In this way, its less of a moral story but more of a sudo-religious journey trough ones travels while sharing his world with the purest forms nature could provide (as well as be personified within the text).

    3. glittering eye

      I have been wondering what this "glittering" of the Mariner's eye/s might mean. From my first read-through I assumed that this is visualization of the enthusiasm he carries, some sort of wide-eyed compulsion to tell his story. However, seeing that his story was deeply personal and tragic, it made me rethink what this "glittering" actually was.

      I decided to research various medical conditions that would be associated with sailing to see if I could find something that dealt with the eyes. I found that cataracts has been a constant problem that persists into the modern age with sea-travelers. The sun constantly shoots out UV radiation down on the planet, and these rays effect our bodies over time. Sailors are exposed to the sun most of all, both from being out in the sun and because of the reflection of UV rays off the water. The usage of UV blocking eye ware is more of a recent occurrence, so sailors back then would develop cataracts at an accelerated rate.

      Here is an example: it looks like its "glittering" and I could see how the man the Mariner is enchanted by it.

      "Cataract." Cataract. American Optometric Association, 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

    4. And lo! the Albatross proveth a bird of good omen, and followeth the ship as it returned northward through fog and floating ice.

      On a sailing ship, months can go by without a change of routine. Seeing signs of life breaks up the monotony, which can be a huge boost for morale. It is normal for seabirds to follow ships to pick at food scraps on the ship or roost in high in the masts and rigging. However, these animals can also be useful tools for experienced sea faring travelers too. Animals can point to land or easy food sources, because they seek it out on instinct.

      In the poem, the Albatross notices the Mariner's ship, which is stuck in the ice, through the Arctic fog and comes to investigate. Upon the arrival of the bird, the wind began to pick up and allowed the boat to be free of the ice as if it had some sort of control over it. However, it is interesting to note that Coleridge added this gloss (for lines 71-74) to say that the Albatross is "leading" the ship through the ice instead of just following the ship blindly. Leading how?

      Well if the Albatross is looking for fresh food, it would have to fly over open water. That would mean the was ice thinned or had not formed in the direction it traveled. So the bird would have never shown up if it were not for thin ice, so the Mariner and his crew led the boat away from the thicker freezing ice and back out to open water that the Albatross would naturally. Simply put, the curious bird had become an effective navigation tool.

      "Albatross." A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Michael Ferber. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Credo Reference. Web. 5 Oct 2015.

    5.  'God save thee, ancient Mariner!   From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—  80  Why look'st thou so?'—'With my crossbow   I shot the Albatross.

      This is where the Mariner seals the fate of his crew, as well as himself, through a massive turning point and irrational act. He shoots down the Albatross, the guide that led them out of the ice and that which was such a happy influence on the crew. The question is why? Had the brilliance of the bird garnered the envy of the Mariner? Perhaps the Mariner saw the bird as no longer useful. Either way, this marks the decent of the expedition bringing the wrath of nature upon him, which also then literally begins weighing him down when the crew forces him to wear the bird around his neck.

      As a side note, Gustave Dore was an artist that made extremely detailed wood carvings, many being of different literary works. The ones for "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" are especially telling, so please take a look at this beautiful wood engraving depicting the catalyzing moment of the poem. I would also highly suggest looking at the others in the collection.

      "Gustave Doré Art Prints: Illustrations to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Gustave Dore. ARTSY CRAFTSY, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.

      "I Shot the Albatross, Gustave Dore Art Print." I Shot the Albatross, Gustave Dore Art Print. ARTSY CRAFTSY, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.

  6. Sep 2015
    1. Surrey Bower

      Surrey is a British county, known for it's forested and picturesque areas. But what is a bower? Referring to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are two definitions that are the most likely interpretations.

      1. A place closed in by the branches of trees or other plants; a shady place 2a. An inner apartment, a bed-room. 2b. Especially applied to a lady's private apartment.

      This "Surrey Bower" could be either a shady meeting place out in the forests of Surrey or be The Maiden's dwelling located within Surrey. In both cases this would be where the narrator visits The Maiden. However, it is possible that these two places are the same, where again it is The Maiden's dwelling but it is like a summer home or cottage hidden out in the shade of the forest. This bit of wordplay allows for very deep imaginary connecting the romantic to nature, the secluded forests of the British countryside.

      Take a look with Google Maps to see what Blake is referencing.

      "bower, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

    2. Another London with its Tower

      This line shares a theme of revelation along with it's partnered lines in the third stanza, but also exemplifies the theme of the cabinet in deep metaphor.

      1. The theme of revelation in this stanza shows how the narrator, due to his interactions with the maiden mentioned prior, gains a new interpretation of the world he lives in. This new interpretation starts broad then narrows down using England imagery that exemplifies specific constructs. This narrowing begins within this line with the example being the man made portion, London and London Tower (refer to part 2). Then in contrast, the natural images; the Thames, the hills, the Surrey bower (which end the stanza over the next two lines.

      2. This line is a direct connection between the revelation and the cabinet theme. It is mentioned that the cabinet is formed of gold, pearl, and crystal. This can have multiple meanings; the cabinet is created from, was paid for with, or contains said materials. Looking into the "new London" part of the line, we see that the narrator sees the city as more then a city. Look at London Tower, a place that is just like the cabinet in all three ways. It was built to be white and pearly, adorned with gold, and have massive windows. The castle was paid for with riches, and it also holds riches within. So this is what the narrator is now seeing, all the ways something can hold more then one feeling or meaning as well as be a "cabinet" of its own.

      "Discover 1000 Years of History." Official Tower Of London Tickets, Events & History. Historic Royal Palaces, 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.