The Influence of a Poem
The Influence of a Poem
ENG 125: Introduction into Literature
Mr. Stephen Rogers
March 10, 2013
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The poem that I chose for this assignment is The Oak by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. This poem has a way of gaining a reader??™s interest and Tennyson uses several different elements of poetry to help a person to understand his poem. Tennyson uses the elements of figurative language, symbolism, and rhyme to describe an oak tree and it??™s similarities to the various stages of a human life. I was able to use these elements to better understand this comparison and enjoy this poem even more.
At first reading , I really did not grasp the concept of a tree going through the same stage as a human. After reading this poem several times, however, I began to understand it better and found it to be a great poem. Tennyson uses figurative language by the use of a simile to compare human developmental stages to that of the seasons of nature and their effects on an oak tree. This comparison made me feel as if the author was relating these two things throughout the entire poem to show how alike our lives are to the life of this strong oak tree. The author also personifies the oak tree by using ???he??? to refer to the changes of the oak tree and its relationship to the stage of our lives. ???All his leaves, Fall??™n at length, look, he stands trunk and bough, Naked Strength.(Clugston, 2010). These lines demonstrate personification of the oak tree and helped me to see the oak take on these human qualities.
The oak tree, through the use of these words, seemed to me to symbolize a human man going through the stages of life . Just as the oak tree goes through spring, summer, fall and winter, a human also goes through these stages only in different ways. Tennyson uses the way that the tree looks in each of these seasons, to show the similarities of each. The use of this symbolism helped me to see the way the tree looked and then to transfer this to the way that a human may also look during these changes.
I think that the use of symbols and symbolism through this poem is important to being able to understand the poem??™s underlying message. I think that Tennyson used the tree to symbolize strength and wisdom, and to allow the reader to see the strength within themselves and within a human as they go through the various stages of their life. There are several different symbols that helped me to understand this underlying message, but this I feel was the most important of them.
The way in which the rhyme that Tennyson used helped me to understand this poem better is that it made the poem easier to read and allowed me to concentrate on the meanings of the words and not spend time trying to decipher complicated words and how they were being used. I enjoy reading poems that are written in rhyme patterns because sometimes even the rhyme patterns are meant to express a certain feeling or ???music??? for the reader to find. In reading this poem out loud, I found that each line seem to have 3 beats per line. This made it easier to read and more interesting to do so. Tennyson also used rhyming words to make the poem flow
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easier. An example of this is the line??? Young and old, like yon oak, bright in spring, living gold.???(Clugston, 2010). I also noticed that this poem seems to be written in a zig zag pattern, I like to think that even this may have been intentional. By writing the poem in this pattern, It seems to follow the trail that a falling leaf might make as it travels down to the ground. This may have been intentional or just a fluke of writing, no one but Tennyson would know for sure.
This poem has become one of my favorite poems and I think that Tennyson did a great job ???illustrating??? the similarities of the life cycle of an oak tree and the stages of human life. By using figurative language, symbolism, and rhyming, the poet was able to give the readers a greater meaning than that of a poem about an oak tree. These elements were helpful in creating the meaning of this poem and making it easier and more enjoyable to read. I think that the comparison of an oak tree and a human going through the stages of life was a unique way to lead readers to a new understanding of the beauty of human life in all its stages, and the strength that each one of those stages has.
Clugston, R. W. (2010).? Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Information retrieved from: https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/sections/sec10.3