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To Autumn

John Keats

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Added by: john keats
here is an essay i produced about 'To Autumn'. I hope it helps.

      We are presently living in an era of material affluence. Never before in man's history has the production of goods been so scientifically manipulated by the use of technology; never before have the natural sciences advanced with such speed and skill so that even nature, that unpredictable force of life, has come under its control and the outer limits of our Universe, as a result of scientific exploration has lost its mystery. It is an era in which it is generally believed that Science and Technology are the answer to human suffering, and that in time we will find the key that will open the door to happiness for all. Science and Technology have thus become the religion of the 20th century. Consequently, we find that we are in the autumn of our civilization, our granaries are filled to capacity, and yet the leaves, of the trees of life are falling. Man has not succeeded in finding "happiness", for as Marcuse says, "The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their souls in their automobile, hi-fi,set, split-level home, kitchen equipment." Thus man is alienated and isolated from himself and, like a gleaner, is picking up the remaining grains of love and communication rather than capitalizing on them. It is the thesis of this, paper that the advances in Science and Technology, which are seen as a redeemer of the human soul, have achieved the opposite condition and that only by human intercourse can man hope to revive filial affection.
      Looking at our present society, I am struck by the desperation shown by individuals who are seeking ways of finding some meaning to their lives. Young adults and teenagers are running away from home and their parents' values and means of achieving "success."' Their parents, who fail to understand that their children are looking for affection and meaningful relationships keep asking, "Why? we've given them everything possible." But their material offerings do not appear to fulfill the human need for communication and love. These parents, who have struggled all their lives for material success have found little time for their families, and the family structure as an institution has suffered greatly. Children are sent out of the home to attend nursery schools at the age of two, three or four years and early in life they become aware of the need to achieve. They are told that they must receive a good education because education is essential in obtaining a good paying job. They are told that they must be polite, personable, and attractive because these qualities win friends and spouses. Consequently, life begins to appear to exist outside of them, and all too soon the child experiences a feeling of depersonalization. This depersonalization is depicted by the sociologist Robert E. Parks, who writes:
      Everywhere in the Great Society the relations of men which were intimate and personal have been more or less superseded by relations that are impersonal and formal. The result is that in the modern world... every aspect of life seems to be mechanical and rationalized. This is particularly true in our modern cities which are... so largely inhabited by lonely men and women. Where are these young people running to? Many are escaping into the world of drugs, a world they claim where life appears beautiful and where experiences are heightened. Others are engaging in emotionally premature experiences, possibly hoping to find relief from loneliness, and still others are taking part in mass community experiences, such as The White Lake Music Festival where thousands of people joined together to experience communally, a common interest --music, or the mass political demonstrations where thousands have voiced their opposition to discrimination.
      And what about the older members of society? have they been happy in their strivings? The answer must be no. With the advent of the huge corporations, men and women have become numbers on a payroll rather than individuals necessary for the functioning of a company. Automation has threatened many employees with the loss of their jobs. The rapidly changing society has threatened their security. Even religious institutions have lost their influence over the masses. Their material acquisitions provide little comfort, against the threat of fear, loneliness and insecurity. This dissatisfaction is well- stated in the following statement by Sigmund Freud:
One would like to ask: is there...no increase in my feeling of happiness, if I can hear the voice of a child of mine who is living hundreds of miles away or if I can learn in the shortest possible time after a friend has reached his destination that he has come through the long and difficult voyage unharmed? Does it mean nothing that medicine has succeeded in enormously reducing infant mortality and the danger of infection for women in childbirth, and, indeed, in considerably lengthening the average life of a civilized man? ... But here the voice of pessimistic criticism makes itself heard...If there had been no railroad, ... my child would never have left his native town, ... if traveling across the ocean by ship had not been introduced, my friend would never have embarked on his sea voyage...What is the use of reducing infant mortality... when that reduction imposes the greatest restrain on us in the begetting of children... And what good is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys and if it is so full of misery that awe can only welcome death as a deliverer?
Although Sigmund Freud's interpretation of Technology is a pessimistic one, the point he makes is poignant. Scientific and technological advances alone cannot achieve human happiness. I see that to combat human isolation is communication. Not the communication of the telephone or the mass media but the verbal expression of one's human needs. Man will soon discover that the uniqueness of his being is not altogether unique, but his feelings are shared by millions of others throughout the world. I pose the question: Will our autumn turn into a deadly winter, where even the hope of happiness will be lost, or can man unite with nature (life) and breathe deeply the aromas of love and beauty?

Here is a small analysis, which might help you.

To Autumn

Keats wrote 'To Autumn' directly after abandoning 'The Fall of Hyperion', during September of 1819. It is among the last of his poems and it is often regarded as the most achieved of his odes. 'To Autumn' is more abundant than at first glance. It didn't touch me like 'Ode to Psyche', but it left me with an equally pleasant feeling of harmony and purpose. Keats once said about Byron 'He describes what he sees - I describe what I imagine, mine is the hardest task'. 'To Autumn' is certainly evidence of this process. The first stanza though, is building up the landscape in a more concrete way. Its full of excellent picture language like:
And fill all fruits with ripeness to the core,
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
Then in the second stanza he starts filling an already almost perfect picture with his imagination. He moves the background from the ripened fruit to the cider press. He personifies Autumn embodies her in the daily labours of harvest-time. The second line in the this stanza: 'sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find' is for me particularly interesting. I can relate to it so much because it holds such optimism and harmony. Actually it seems to me that the entire second stanza (except the last four lines) is heavy with sleepiness. Take for example the following:
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies while they hook,
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
The four last lines of the second stanza which I spoke of, consists of the realisation of Autumn in physical action. A girl (autumn) walks on a plank across a brook when she is out collecting leaves or something. Then she sits by the cider press watching the last oozings being squeezed from the pulp. Then in the third and final stanza the purpose of the poem becomes clear, in the tenderness of the second line. Here are the first two lines:
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.
In the last verse he sheds light on the fact that everything has a purpose. Autumn, the season which robs us of summer's warmth, which tears down the leaves from the trees, which prepares the world for the coming of dark winter, has its purpose too. What would spring be without autumn, waking without repose, light without dark, indeed life without death? 'To Autumn' demonstrates that everything will change with the natural circular motion of everything. And that which is generally regarded as bad is also essential to the persistence of life.

I hope they help you. If they do feel free to reply.
Added by: plagiarist
How bout you get your own opinion
Added by: Amanda
I just got done writing an in class written analysis of this poem. I'm a senior taking an AP english IV class and we're studying poetry at this point. I thought this poem exhibited two kinds of progression of time. First is the time of day. The first stanza is the morning with the "mists". The second is late afternoon, when the hot sun is beating down and makes everyone drowsy. The third is at sunset with the "barred clouds" piercing the sky with its "rosy hue".
this poem also shows a progression in the season of autumn itself. The first stanza is early autumn because "summer has o'er brimmed. The second is mid-autumn, because it's time for harvest. The third is late autumn because the birds are headed south for winter.
This progression in time is supposed to represent Keats' message that even though the death autumn causes now prevails, that it is all part of the natural progression that eventually leads to spring.
Added by: stone
to autumn is a beautiful poem with landscape AND music
Keats, To Autumn
Added by: fiona
To me this poem is more about the approaching death of Keats and the autumn prior to the ravages and harshness of winter. It is a poem of romantic reflections, of opportunities missed and pleasant gains. It contrasts with the misery of day to day life, with a progressive illness in the early 19th century, which only opium can offer some respite. Keats was clearly in a bad way, although facing his death, and the very intensity,passion and clarity of the poem reflects this.
Added by: Paul Maddern
You’ll find that one part’s sweet and one part’s tart:
say where the sweetness or the sourness start.”
(Tony Harrison, ‘A Kumquat for John Keats’, 1981, l. 37-8)

The Nation’s Favourite Poems (1996) is a B.B.C. anthology of poems nominated by the British public. Of the one hundred poems published Keats’s ‘To Autumn’ (1819) is the sixth most nominated poem; testimony to its enduring popularity. This popularity can, in part, be attributed to the poem’s subject, a seemingly straightforward description of a beautiful autumnal day. But if subject matter alone guaranteed acclaim then any poem about a beautiful autumnal day might win devotees. What elevates ‘To Autumn’ beyond the ordinary is Keats’s quite extraordinary deployment of poetic techniques. Assonance, alliteration, structure, rhythm, rhyme, collocation and imagery are skilfully exploited and combined to create a poem of quite staggering technical bravura: a poem which, far from being straightforward, reveals a complex relationship between poet, subject and reader. Harrison’s poem hints at the blurring of boundaries in Keats’s work between extremes such as joy and sadness, comfort and unease, pleasure and pain. ‘To Autumn’ blurs these boundaries through skilful manipulation of language ressulting in a work capable of sustaining both public and academic interest.

‘To Autumn’ consists of three eleven-line stanzas with each stanza marking a stage in the progression of the season: the maturing of summer’s bounty (stanza 1), the harvesting of the bounty (stanza 2) and the post-harvest onset of winter (stanza 3). Each stanza follows a similar rhyme scheme; the first four lines of each stanza rhyming ABAB, followed by seven lines rhyming either, CDEDCCE (stanza 1), or CDECDDE (stanzas 2 and 3). Every line is in pentameter (L. 15 could be read as eleven syllables if ‘winnowing’ is pronounced ‘winn-ow-ing’) and, to varying degrees, conforms to regular iambic rhythms. The use of stanzaic structure, regulated rhyme patterns and iambic pentameter are stylistic qualities in keeping with the Horatian ode, a form associated with formal, elevated use of language in the meditative contemplation of a given subject. A further indication of the formality of the poem lies in the opening two-line apostrophe to the personified Autumn;

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;” (L. 1-2)

But these opening lines are also indicative of opposition to the formality expected of Horatian odes. Compare the opening apostrophe of ‘To Autumn’ with that found in Keats’s ‘Ode to Psyche’ (1819),

“O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,” (L.1-2)

This is a strident summoning of a deity. The ‘To Autumn’ apostrophe, with its alliterative long ‘s’, ‘m’ and ‘l’ sounds and the reliance on long vowels, is slow and restrained. Also of interest is that stanza 1 is a single, incomplete sentence: there is no verb. Psyche is asked to ‘hear’ but what follows Autumn’s apostrophe is a series of subordinate clauses with infinitive verb forms (“to load”, “to bend”, “to swell”, “to set”) describing the maturation of the Autumn’s fruit. By the end of the stanza Autumn might ask legitimately of Keats, “ Yes, but what do want?” The answer may lie in the questions that open stanzas 2 and 3. If the opening apostrophe and questions are grouped together, a certain logic becomes apparent,

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;” (L.1-2)
“Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?” (L.12)


“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;” (L.1-2)
“Where are thy songs of Spring? Aye where are they?” (L.23)

This contrivance does not negate the awkward grammar of stanza 1, but it does suggest that while each stanza deals with separate phases of the season, the apostrophe and questions link all three stanzas together, blurring divisions between them.

If Horatian odes are associated with the use of elevated language, Keats’s language undermines the formality of the form. Brian Stone suggests, “the many related images presented are of actuality, and not metaphorical in any sense.” (The Poetry of Keats, 1992, p. 124) and Graham Hough suggests, “it is apparently the most purely objective and descriptive [of Keats’s odes] … there are no questions and no conflict in the poem.” (The Romantic Poets, 1953, p. 178) While I believe both authors are confusing simplicity of language with simplicity of intent, I would agree that ‘To Autumn’ relies on concrete imagery built on words that Stone later describes as, “ more monosyllabic and Saxon than most of what he wrote.” (Ibid. p. 143) Perhaps the line that best epitomises this simplicity is, “With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run” (L. 4) which, with it’s ten monosyllabic words (counting “thatch-eaves” as two separate units), simple imagery and completely regular iambic pentameter, boarders on the mundane. But this does not mean that simple words are not combined in complex tapestries of sounds and oppositions. The poem’s famous opening line, “Season of mellow mists and fruitfulness” is often quoted as the example of Keats’s masterful use of alliteration and assonance but these devices are employed throughout the poem. For example: line four, which I suggested boarded on the mundane, is saved by the almost hypnotic repetition of ‘th’ phonemes, the further alliteration of round/run, the repetition of long vowels (vines, round, run) and the assonance of the /a/ sound in that/thatch. No, not mundane, but rather, as Stone suggests of the entire poem, “musical regularity to perhaps its ultimate point in the scheme of Keats’s practice in prosody.” (Ibid. p. 143)

Kenneth Muir (John Keats: A Reassessment, 1958) argues that it is not sufficient to praise prosodic elements of ‘To Autumn’ and that, blinded by the poem’s technical gloss, we ignore subtleties within the poem. While he acknowledges Keats’s virtuosity, he rejects simplistic readings of ‘To Autumn’ that only value its evocative descriptions. A large part of the poem’s value lies in the series of oppositions created by Keats’s choice and juxtaposition of words. We are back to Harrison’s, “say where the sweetness and the sourness start” and the idea that surface beauty masks a more disturbing and complex commentary. Keats may find an autumnal day beautiful but considerations of words’ collocations and oppositions suggest negative aspects of the autumnal day and the cyclical nature of seasons. The beginning of the season (stanza 1) affords spectacular displays of swollen gourds, plump kernels and fruit laden vines but Autumn and Summer are “Conspiring” (L.3) to “bless” (L.3) and also “to load” (L.3) the vines. Old, “mossed” (L.5) trees are bent by the weight of fruit. “Later flowers” (L.9), “budding more/And still more” (L.9) lull bees into a false sense of security, leading them to believe “warm days will never cease” (L.10) and the resulting overabundance “has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.” (L.11) “Clammy cells”— with connotations of cold, damp, confined spaces – is the final image of the stanza and seems a deliberate contrast to the lush description that has preceded it. In Stanza 2 people who seek abroad only “Sometimes” (L. 13) find Autumn and a gleaner only “sometimes” (L.19) “dost keep/Steady thy laden head across a brook.” (L.19-20) The repetition of the word “sometimes”, in itself, suggests an arbitrary Nature. Furrows are only “half-reaped.” (L.16) It is possible that it is only the hallucinatory state of Autumn – “Dowsed with the fume of poppies” (L.17) – that “spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers.” (L.18) And the word “spares” suggests an autocratic Autumn with power to grant life or death. In stanza 3 Muir suggests that the opposing images centre around, “living and dying, of staying and departure.” (Ibid. p.98) Redbreasts remain while swallows gather for departure. “Full-grown lambs” – a clever reminder of life’s cycle – “loud bleat”, (L.30) “Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft/The redbreast whistles” (L.31-32) while “small gnats mourn.” (L.27) The landscape is one of opposition: “barréd clouds bloom” (L.25) while “light wind lives or dies” (L.29); “stubble-plains” and “river sallows” – with the connotations associated with ‘weeping willows’ – exist alongside the “hilly bourn” (L. 30) and “garden croft.” (L.32) Again, Nature’s arbitrariness is suggested,

“[…] the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies” (L. 27-29)

The gnats are subject to the capricious conditions of the season and Keats emphasises this with great technical skill. The enjambment of aloft/or emphasises the first “or” and this emphasis is highlighted further by its repetition and the assonance of mourn/borne/or.

Knowing that Keats wrote ‘To Autumn’ shortly before his death, it is tempting to read the poem as a metaphor for his acceptance of the fate that will soon befall him. Certainly, the circumstances of Keats’s life give the poem an added poignancy, but even without that knowledge there is sufficient evidence in the poem to suggest that it is more than mere description of a beautiful autumnal day: that it addresses both the ‘sweet’ and the ‘sour’ nature of a transitory season and blurs the boundaries between them.
poem to autumn (litrueter)
Added by: lucas cornejo
I am a 1st polimodal student this is an essay i wrote. hope this help!
“To Autumn”, deals with the presence of nature and how autumn itself is more significant than any of the other seasons. What most called my attention was the infinite number of images you can imagine by reading it . IT seems that john Keats describes what he imagine and so while reading it you create the picture, in your head, of what he is seeing. I also find in this poem an excellent use of language like: “And fill all fruits with ripeness to the core, to swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells” and even more in the second stanza the use of personification is present.
I think the poem is divided in three stages . Stage 1 is described in the first stanza is early autumn because "summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells”. Stage 2, which is described in the second stanza where is mid-autumn because it is time for harvest “on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep”. Stage 3 which is found in the therd stanza where is late autumn because the birds are headed south for winter. These stages show us the real progression of autumn, particulary for me this show’s us the intelligence of keats, because this shows us that autumn is more significant than the other seasons from the beginning to the end, it also shows us that each stage (beginning, middle and end) are essential for autumn itself.

Keats describes this season as one of “mist and mellow fruitfulness” meaning that, that moment when the fruit falls from the tree is the most desiring of all the year, meaning that, that moment in particular is what characterises autumn. He also described as a season of “abundance”, when he says “to bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees” this represents autumn, in comparison to other seasons, like a season where food is abundant which represents your work done during all the year. I also think that he wants to describe autumn as a season where all is done and what predominates is the pleasure of your work “Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep”. The use of personification appears on the second stanza when he represents autumn as a girl walking on a plank across a brook when she is out collecting leaves or something. Then she sits by the cider press watching the last oozings being squeezed from the pulp.
When I finished reading the poem I understood Keat´s message, I think he wanted to say that autumn apart from being the season which robs us of summer’s warmth, which makes trees look leaf less and which prepare us to the cold and darkness of winter, it is also essential to the continuation of life.

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