John Donne poems mindmap

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  • John Donne, Elizabethan era
    • A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
      • ABAB rhyme scheme - relates to the poem subject matter, shows that lovers are harmonious with one another
      • 2 rhymes in each stanza, 9 stanzas altogether - creates both feelings of separation and togetherness.
        • ABAB rhyme scheme - relates to the poem subject matter, shows that lovers are harmonious with one another
        • Structure expresses the paradox in the poem (2 become 1)
          • A form of rhetoric - intricate structure shows time and effort, so is persuasive to the reader
      • profanation - make vulgar   laity - people who don't understand (lay people)    trepidation - exploration     sublunary - under themoon
      • References to souls - "though greater far, is innocent", "our two souls therefore, which are one" - support the Elizabethan beliefs about souls and their connection to love
      • "care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss" - a criticism of blazon (typical convention of love poems), less interested about the sensual
      • "trepidation of the spheres, though greater far, is innocent" - refers to angels, souls, exploration
      • conceit - Donne compares their relationship to the two parts of a compass - as they get further away their circle gets bigger (circle represents eternity)
        • connotes security, stability in the relationship
      • "A breach, but an expansion / Like gold to airy thinness beat"
        • gold beat down till flat - distance but no separation
        • not a conceit - uses a simile to compare their love to gold - has value/beauty
    • The Ecstasy
      • "So must pure lovers' soul descend / T'affections and to faculties / Which sense may reach and apprehend / Else a great prince in prison lies
        • "soul descend" - purity, souls are considered higher up, 'descend' connotes lowering and release
        • "prince" - Donne presents a strong male as trapped, this is a form of rhetoric as it gives the female power
          • "prince" also used as a metaphor for their love
          • "prison" here refers to their bodies
      • ABAB rhyme scheme, tightly structured, again lots of references to 2 things becoming 1
        • e.g. "nor are dross to us, but allay" - valuable metals, two things mixed together become stronger
        • '"to'intergraft out hands"
      • references to life and death e.g. 'sepulchral statues'
      • intimate connotations from the beginning, "like a pillow on a bed"
      • title refers to an outer body experience - Elizabethan belief
      • references to procreation throughout the poem - reinforces the idea of eternity and souls living forever - e.g."a pregnant bank"
    • The Flea
      • second person makes it very personal - a form of rhetoric as it is very precise, requires thought and effort
      • various semantic fields used
        • love/lust (physical love)
          • ****s, mingled, maidenhead (virginity), swells, coister'd, blood of innocence, ****'d
        • violence
          • self-murder, sacrilege, killing, purpled
        • forbidden love, sinning, shame
          • sin, shame, parents grudge, sins
      • three stanzas, three rhyming triplets - repeated use of three remind us of the three in the poem - the man, the woman and the flea
      • first stanza - tone of aggravation, second stanza - tone of desperation, third stanza - uses the flea's death to his advantage
      • the flea becomes an extended metaphor
      • contemporary audience of Elizabethan era would have seen this as the idea that they have already mixed with one another inside the flea
        • however a modern audience may see this as a reference to sexually transmitted diseases as fleas are usually associated with disease
    • The Good Morrow
      • first person narrative from a male perspective - the female is given no voice, possibly seen as less important?
        • reflects that the poem was written in 1602 - generalisation that women during this time were quite passive/didn't have a voice in society
      • imagery or extended metaphor - the world and its' shape, Seven Sleepers den, cave, 'walled up' - isolation from the rest of the world, everything outside becomes insignificant
        • "makes a little room an everywhere"
        • last 4 lines compares their love to the world, immortalises the love as the sea and world go on as we die
      • identifiable structure - ABABCCC rhyme scheme, number 3 is important throughout the poem - 3 stanzas with each ending in a rhyming triplet
        • could refer to a third person, possibly the reader? Creates a sense of intrusion for reader
          • OR could refer to a third person in the poem, possibly a baby (?)(pregnancy)
            • this is a paradox as humans are also made immortal through love - we die individually however humanity lives on
      • semantic field of exploration - exploring each other
        • use of the world 'love' also varies throughout the poem - it is used as an abstract noun, a verb and a common noun
          • love lives on through language - eternity


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