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Analysis of Keats 'Ode to Autumn'

By 09smithmark Feb 19, 2012 828 Words
‘To Autumn’ Analysis

‘To Autumn’ is a caricature of the Autumnal season written by John Keats around 1820. Keat’s direct address, and thus his personification of Autumn is evident through the use of the direct determiner ‘To’ which resembles the conventional opening sequence of a letter. From the personification of Autumn, we can denote that ‘she’ is the intended audience, and that we are merely onlookers to Keat’s celebration. The purpose of the piece is to eulogize the season, exploring most illustriously its prosperity, tranquility and beauty. 

The opening line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ immediately helps to convey a sense of setting through the use of imagery. The reader feels as thought they can see the mist and feel the smooth surface of the fruit. This is achieved using the collective concrete noun ‘...mists...’ alliterated with the premodifying adjective ‘...mellow...‘ to create imagery by appealing to the readers sense of touch and sight. The softness and tenderness of the imagery is enhanced by ‘...mists...fruitfulness’ where the ending morphemes are sibilant. ‘Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun‘ suggests the intensity of their relationship, whilst personifying the sun. Keats lexical choice of the continuous active adjective ‘...maturing...’ furthers this effect by implying that the skin is ‘ageing, and that the sun will soon cease to be. A sad atmosphere is created through the connotations of death through keats diction, however this is lifted by the intrigue created in line 3. Keats juxtaposes the connotations of ‘Conspiring...’ with connotations of danger, trickery, and deceit with the positive connotations of ‘...load and bless...’ Arguably, line four features enjambment ‘...the thatch-eves run;...‘ as the semicolon provides additional details. However Keats manipulation of rhyme and metre present an ABABC rhyming scheme in the first 5 lines, and therefore it is not assumed enjambement. The extent of the harvest to which Autumn blesses (us/reader) with, is to cause the ‘...moss’d cottage-trees...’ to ‘...bend with apples...’ The hyperbole helps formulate for the reader the vivid image of a tree collapsing with the burden of fruit. The atmosphere is more euphoric and lucid at this point, and the reader joins in the fruitfulness of the crops (and season). hyponymy - kernal and shells belong to the semantic field of seed The poems pace progresses as Keats use the conjunctive clause ‘And still more...‘ as a discourse marker to initiate the topic shift from fruit and seeds towards the ‘...bees...’; fellow benefactors of Autumn. The ‘...later flowers for the bees...‘ demonstrate that Autumn is not selective with her actions, and that many benefit and are not forgotten as the inevitable transition begins.An X is a kind of Y'--A daffodil is a kind of flower (David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2003)

the strict ten syllable lines, combined with the rigidity of eleven lines per stanza form a cohesiveness throughout the poem.

third stanza, Keats consoles the season for its lack of recognition comparative to that of spring.  These lines induce the mood for the rest of the stanza, which describes the autumn night, simultaneously sad, gentle and beautiful. praises the quality most often associated with autumn, the prosperity of harvest.  second stanza, Keats depicts the aesthetic appeal of autumn

Her setting is always used to describe the fruitfulness of autumn but her manner is used to distinguish the other qualities of autumn: “careless”, “patient”, “sound asleep” and “Steady.”  All these qualities convey a sense of relaxation to the reader, which is what many think of when they picture a nice autumn day. autumn is not too much different that that of spring.  In light of these facts, Keats tries to comfort autumn by saying, “Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?/ Think not of them, thou hast thy music too”  (23-4). his song and praise in the form of his poem. 

consoling and reality of a looming winter leaves the third stanza in a calm mood, the silence before a storm. The verb “mourn” subliminally symbolizes a sad picture of the autumn night. 

Keats is personifying Autumn in this poem as a beautiful lady who sits on the granary floor. The stanzas follow the same pattern and stanza length which imotates the pattern of reoccuring seasons. He also creates a less positive image of the other seasons, which highlights the beauty of Autumn further. By the end of the poem it becomes aparent that Keats is also conserning lifes worth. There is a sorrow that Autumn will eventually end (die) but its life is celebrated in the poem, which could be attributed to Keats being a Romantic poet and also having found negative capability. Hope that helps Guest

“To Autumn” truly exemplifies John Keats’ romantic qualities: a great sense of vocabulary complimented with the  ability to use those words to invoke strong symbolism and emotion. 

May be consider as a elegy to Autumn;

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