Poetry Analysis

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  • Topic: Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Southern Agrarians
  • Pages : 2 (441 words )
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  • Published : March 21, 2005
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"Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter" by John Crowe Ransom (578)

John Crowe Ransom, an American poet, was born in Pulaski, Tennessee on April 30, 1888. He received an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in 1909, and later became a professor there. Ransom published three volumes of highly much-admired poetry. He was a member of the Fugitives, a group of writers who were suspicious of the social and cultural changes taking place in the South during the early twentieth century. They sought to preserve the traditional idea, which was firmly embedded in classical values and forms. He had an enormous influence on an entire generation of poets and fellow academics they described him as the "New Criticism." He believed in the poetic virtues of irony and complexity. John Crowe Ransom died in 1974.

What is the situation?
It is about a man trying to come to grips with the death of a young girl. He is recollecting how the young girl died. What's the total impression of the poem?
The impression I got when I read this poem was shaken by the dramatic contrast between life and death of a young girl. How does the title relate to the poem?
The Bells in the title are referring to the bells in line 17 "But now go the bells…" , the bells that were sounded at the girls death. What mental pictures does it create?
A sunny day when the girl is running about with a flock of geese to the pond. A small girl so active, alive, and having such playful energy. Then, her playfulness is gone and she is still in death. What specific figurative language and poetic devices convey these images? Mood and Rhythm. He uses words such as "astonishes" and "vexed" to show his amazement and grief that the young girl has passed away. What's the general atmosphere of the poem?

Grief and astonishment
Have I ever felt this way or experienced this emotion?
Yes, I have felt this way many times when a close friend or family member has passed away. I think everyone feels grief and...
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