Village Life

Looking at 'Village Life' - a main theme in John Clare's poems. Some poems and their quotations with analysis.

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  • Created by: R_S_E
  • Created on: 29-03-14 16:13
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  • Village Life
    • THE COTTAGER
      • Faithful Depiction of Village Life
        • "True as the church clock hand the hour pursues / He plods about his toils and reads the news"
          • Alliteration: emphasises the simplicity of life
          • Simile: Regularity of village life, not working against time
          • Personification: Reflecting the idea of changing times
          • Monosyllabic nouns reflecting the hard work & simplicity of The Cottager's life & slow down the pace
          • 'news' not expanded upon suggesting that the outside world is unimportant
          • Enjambment highlights 'pursues' which is anaesthetised with 'plods' suggesting that while the outside world is moving forwards The Cottager's life remains the same
        • "Content is helpmate to the day's employ"
          • Personification: more tangible - Cottager is happy
        • "And care ne'er comes to steal a single joy"
          • Personification: He is free and happy, simple life
      • Tradition vs. Modernity
        • "O'er steam's almighty tales he wondering looks / As witchcraft gleaned from old black letter books."
          • Antithesis of God connotations and 'witchcraft' - new technology takes the place of God / battle of change
          • 'wondering' reflects his ignorance of new processes
          • Sibilance: lasting time and building fear
          • Simile shows that he sees change as a crime/sin
          • Personifies steam showing his ignorance at the world
        • "To talk of 'Lunun' as a foreign land"
          • Country dialect separating him from development
          • Sees progress as foreign
        • "He views knowledge with suspicious eyes / And thinks it blasphemy to be so wise"
          • Progress is sacrilidge
      • Form / Structure
        • Cottager is given no name or identity, he is defined by his rural residence
        • Rhyming couplets to reflect the order and regularity in The Cottager's life
      • Harmony with nature
        • "Rests with the lamb and rises with the lark"
          • At one with nature, works alongside it - stressed by the alliteration which emphasises the structure nature puts into his life
        • "Time scarcely noticed turns his hair to grey / Yet leaves him happy as a child at play"
          • Simile emphasising his simplicity / innocence
          • Doesn't fight with time, at peace - follows nature's cycles
        • "Thinks the angler mad"
          • Strong sense of empathy with the natural world
    • SONNET: 'THE BARN DOOR IS OPEN'
      • Simplicity of Village Life
        • 'The...'
          • Repetition / Parallel Phrasing - linking the village and the community together
          • Simple life
        • 'Who takes the hot dinner and hurries away'
          • Alliteration conveying a feeling of business and unity (everything has its place / purpose
          • Community working with each other
        • 'The barn door is open and ready to winnow'
          • Imagery, no depth = simplicity
      • Harmony with nature
        • 'The maid's in the meadow and a-making the hay; / The ducks are a feeding and running about'
          • Alliteration showing the repetitive and simple action
          • Work closely with nature
          • Parallel phrasing conveying how humans and animals can live in close proximity
        • "The hen's in the dust and the hog's in the dirt, / The mower is busy and stripped in his shirt'
          • Rhyming couplet emphasising the harmony between nature and humans
          • Alliteration emphasising the natural and uninterrupted environment
      • Form / Structure
        • Sonnet - love of nature
        • Rhyming couplets - unity with nature
        • Each line has 11 syllables reflecting the simplicity and regularity of village life
    • SONNET 'I DREADED WALKING WHERE THERE WAS NO PATH'
      • Individual harmony with nature
        • "Yet everything about where I had gone / Appeared so beautiful I ventured on"
          • 'everything' outweighs 'always'
          • Freedom of ventured emphasised by the enjambment - conveys his movement
        • "beautiful" repeated
          • Love of nature hasn't changed from childhood to adult hood
      • Social ideal of equality
        • "How beautiful if such a place were mine"
          • Envy of the land, disapproval of enclosure
        • "But having nought I never feel alone / And cannot use another's as my own"
          • not having anything makes him feel part of the community
          • Final couplet consoles him - free from his desire to be free (paradox)
        • "kinder look"
          • Irony of being accused by kind looks, emphasises his anxiety
      • Childhood
        • Caesuras line 11 and 13 separate adult's moral point of view with childhood experience
        • "And always..."
          • Parallel phrasing conveying the sense that though anxious he cannot quell the instinct to trespass
    • DECEMBER
      • Childhood
        • "I met thee [day] in my boyish days"
          • Personifies Christmas ad a friend suggesting a greater bond with the natural world
        • "In fancy's infant ecstasy"
          • Personification of 'fancy' suggests that children have a greater imagination = inspiration
      • Tradition
        • "Old customs, O I love that sound"
          • Caesura emphasises the sound, passed down generations providing a link between past and present
        • "Which fashion yearly fades away"
          • Tradition is being eroded by the new times
        • "And soon the poet's song will be / The only refuge they can find"
          • Customs going to fade until only poetry remembers them (Decay)
      • Relationship with natural world
        • "ivy's veining bough" "ash trees"
          • Nature brought into the house, part of their customs
        • "Old winter wipes his icles by / And warms his fingers till he smiles"
          • Winter personified as a kind old man seeking warmth = communal, cosy imagery
        • "As though sundried martins nest / Instead of ides hung the eves"
          • happiness / joy of the people has the power to transform winter into feelings of Spring
    • St. MARTIN'S EVE
      • Nature (conflict / unity)
        • "Huge-seeming rocks and deserts now enshroud"
          • Mixed metaphor of the clouds as rocks and desert enshrouding the sky, death? Nature is dangerous
        • "Winter's imprisonment is all begun"
          • Metaphor for entrapment indoors from harsh nature - nature can control the actions of people
        • "Rude winds... ill forsee... Who clingeth now to hope like shipwrecked folks at sea"
          • Nature didn't anticipate the wind damaging the landscape - power surprised itself
          • Simile of nature as shipwrecked at sea - winter is a harsh and powerful time that is a danger even to nature
        • "desolate", "enshroud", "threatening", "imprisonment", "bellowing", "din", "blustering"
          • Harshness of nature emphasising the power it has over people
      • Community
        • "Even the very rafters groaned and bent"
          • Hyperbolic personification of the rafters joining in the revelry, antithesis with the roaring tempest outside
          • Community unite in their merry making
        • "Old men as wild as boys"
          • Simile portraying how age does not matter in this community - the generations mix together
            • "Old women whom no cares of life destroys / Dance with the girls"
              • "Old men as wild as boys"
                • Simile portraying how age does not matter in this community - the generations mix together
                  • "Old women whom no cares of life destroys / Dance with the girls"
          • "And, that like to sunshine warming falls, / Being all the solace to her withering mind"
            • Simile of hopes being like sunshine juxtaposed with withering mind - not growing through sun but drying up and dying
            • Sense of community does not help this fallen woman
        • Traditional Life - Simple View of Reality
          • "But beneath her pillow lays an onion red"
            • Traditional superstition of red onion to win husband - simple beliefs / lifestyle
          • "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be so wise"
            • Antithesis of 'ignorance' and wisdom
            • Irony about their deluded joyfulness in enjoying noise as music - don't care as long as they have friends to share it with
          • "Brought up all the sports their memory could devise"
            • Communal traditions passed on through memory
        • Structure
          • Regular 9 line stanzas with rhyme scheme ABABBCBCC = regular, fast paced rhythm with enjambment to present lively atmosphere of games and storytelling
    • "And when I gained the road where all are free"
      • Childhood
        • Caesuras line 11 and 13 separate adult's moral point of view with childhood experience
        • "And always..."
          • Parallel phrasing conveying the sense that though anxious he cannot quell the instinct to trespass
    • Traditional Life - Simple View of Reality
      • "But beneath her pillow lays an onion red"
        • Traditional superstition of red onion to win husband - simple beliefs / lifestyle
      • "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be so wise"
        • Antithesis of 'ignorance' and wisdom
        • Irony about their deluded joyfulness in enjoying noise as music - don't care as long as they have friends to share it with
      • "Brought up all the sports their memory could devise"
        • Communal traditions passed on through memory

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