Saturday, April 27, 2013


Prompt #1

        The speakers' attitudes towards Helen differ in that Poe evokes her classical beauty and link to nature, while Doolittle seems to hate and revile her completely. Poe's nature imagery, use of punctuation, and lively rhyme scheme convey the joy he feels about Helen. Doolittle's poem is stark in contrast, as is his view of Helen; he uses parallel structure and desolate imagery to express his contempt for the weak, superficial Helen.
            The Poe passage, written in the first person, uses very careful diction to exalt Helen's beauty. Adjectives like "gently ... perfumed" describing the sea to which Helen is compared, communicate a quality of serenity and calmness inherent in her beauty, as does the alliteration of "weary, way-worn wanderer." The imagery of the narrator "long wont to roam [on desperate seas]" gives the reader a sense of isolation and loss, until Helen's beauty "brought me home" to comfort and luxury and familiarity. The description of Helen's beauty is also present in images like "hyacinth hair," "classic face" and "Naiad airs," which recall "the grandeur that was Rome," and "the glory that was Greece." For the speaker, Helen is a source of comfort and glory and majesty.The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, for the most part, and divided into five line stanzas with a gradually constant rhyming pattern. The stability and order of such a literal arrangement provides the perfect atmosphere in which to pay homage to Helen's beauty. The tone is one of infatuation and romance, particularly noticeable in the comparison of Helen to "Pshyche, from the regions which  are Holy-Land.
            In contrast to Poe's poem, full of life, is Doolittle's stark and desolate tone, which contributes to her view of Helen as too beautiful and shallow. The first stanza is five lines long, the next six, and the last seven. This rational progression of gradually building contempt contrasts to Poe's lovely, spirited composition. The repetition of the words "wan" and "white" (4 times) stresses the lack of character in Helen, as well as her lack of color or substance. "Cool feet" and "tenderest knees" do not "move" Greece, because these are merely external things. Each stanza is a single sentence. There are no exclamation points, nor any rhyme scene. The poem seems to be nearly strapped of energetic feeling; its tone conveys cold disapproval. The parallel structure, in which "All Greece" is repeated at the beginnings of the first and second stanzas, serves to emphasize the solid, flat, emphatic hatred of Helen. This hatred is as extreme that the poem closes by mentioning that she could only be loved if she were buried as "white ash." The disapproval is so extreme it seems hard to believe it could be directed against a single woman from antiquity. Perhaps Doolittle, a modern woman, is trying to make a disparaging statement about the traditional "ladylike" woman who lacks any substance or personality, striving only for beauty and marriage.
          Poe is attracted by the same beauty which made Helem such a poisoned object in the past; Doolittle sees past Helen's exterior to the consequences of her magnetism and feels the pain of Menelaus's Greece. The details of the two poems allow the two poets to access their contrasting sentiments and provide two views of the Ancient beauty; her passionate, flowing nature could also bring hardship.



Prompt #2
            The poem “Elegy for Jane” by Theodore Roethke  illustrates the speakers lament over his former student whom he was in love with. He metaphorically describes Jane characteristics but he also suggests his erroneous feelings he had for Jane and his apologetic feelings towards Jane.
            He provides the image of the animal to demonstrate that Jane was cheerful and talkative but most importantly innocent. He gives the reader an image of a wren wagging its tail. He describes her speaking style to be like a startled frog. Wrens wag their tails when they are happy therefore describing her as the wren suggests she used to be happy. Frogs leap suddenly when they are startled, with great energy they leap until they are far away from the startled source, meaning, when she was spoken to she talked until she moved away from her speaker. Animals are innocent unlike humans; in the animal kingdom there is no betrayal, corruption, deception or evilness. Jane is described with animal characteristics rather than human ones which suggests that the speaker believed Jane was innocent.

            Jane and the speaker
erroneous relationship is revealed when he says he leaves, their whispers turned to kissing, this metaphorical phrase suggests the importance of Jane innocence. Since Jane was his former student, he leaves and suggests this personification is education related. Teachers can get to know a student views, personality and their beliefs through essays and assignments which are written on papers, the student eaves. Jane personality was whispered to the speaker through the papers. The speaker suggests a shift in the teacher's and students relationship that it turned to kissing.

            The speaker further provides evidence about his unnatural relationship when he confesses his love towards Jane in line 20. He proposes that he had no right to love her since he was either her father nor her lover. Although he loved her, she did not belong to him, and the speaker again uses animals to deliver his attitude. Sparrows and pigeons are common birds, they do not have owners, and it is not natural to own a sparrow or a pigeon. Therefore, by calling Jane his sparrow and his pigeon, he implies the perversity of his feeling towards Jane and again Jane is described as an animal which in our world(stick to their own species to not fall in love with the wrong species, which implies that the speaker thinks Jane was innocent.


  1. Really nice job Liz! I thought both essays were good. The first one was very strong and I could see you knew what you were goin for. For the second essay I thought it was a good choice of a promt.

  2. awesome job. I can tell you put good effort into both prompts.

  3. Awesome job Liz. Your diction and syntax fit perfectly! Keep up the good work!!!