Discuss Yeats construction of 'An Irish Airman foresees his Death' and 'The Cold Heaven'

An AS English Literature OCR essay I did in class on 'An Irish Airman foresees his Death' and 'The Cold Heaven'

This essay got a B/A-

:) <3

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Explore Yeats construction of `Cold Heaven' and `An Irish Airman foresees his death'
When exploring Yeats construction of Cold Heaven and An Irish Airman foresees his
death it is clear that Years has created a spasm of guilt in the way he structures both of
these poems. The assonance in Cold Heaven is constructed in such a way that it has
become broken and there is an essence of half rhyme: `...sent...punishment'. Here,
Yeats constructs a bleak view of heaven, which is unusual as the norm in poetry or
prose is that heaven is associated with spiritual bliss. Therefore, Yeats has woven into
The Cold Heaven themes of: religion, death and god. As one critic said for every
author or poet there are, `moral, religious and, sometimes the philosophical outlook of
the age in which he or she lived.' On the other hand, An Irish Airman foresees his death
has been put into forced rhyme perhaps to symbolise recollections of his past before
death. It is a short sixteen line poem with four grouped quatrains with alternating rhymes.
Even just by looking at the titles we can see how Yeats intended to construct these
poems. Both The Cold Heaven and An Irish Airman foresees his death already tell us
that they will include themes of bereavement and perhaps religion. However, the title of
The Cold Heaven gives us a hint of the twist on the theme of heaven. Heaven isn't
usually a place associated with the cold and the fact that it is cold makes us wonder why
that is. The title for An Irish Airman foresees his death lays out the main idea of the
poem. It hints the idea that the man is in the war, and tells us that Yeats will have woven
in themes of Ireland into the poem.
The Cold Heaven's mood at the beginning has connotations of deathly ice and a
questioning of existence. There is also an oxymoron of: `ice burned...' which is
contradictory of the usual heaven we portray. The `rook delighting heaven' is also
paradoxical in that rook's are usually associated with suffering. Perhaps it could be
suggested that the rooks are a symbol of Yeats confusion of heaven and hell. In the line,
`I took the blame out of all sense and reason' it could be suggested that Yeats is talking
about the actual senses through imagination and how the mind can alter our senses.
The constructed mood of The Cold Heaven gives the reader a sense of self reflection.
Yet, Yeats hasn't constructed any kind of wisdom into this poem instead it is just
feelings of remorse. Correspondingly the mood of An Irish Airman foresees his death
also questions the meaning of existence.
Nevertheless, An Irish Airman foresees his death is constructed in iambic tetrameter
which is highly regular and forced. It uses a simple ABAB rhyme scheme whilst utilizing
different rhymes. The enjambment of An Irish Airman foresees his death gives us a
sense of an instant memory, which barely touches the weight of time. Similarly Cold
Heaven is barely a few seconds of Yeats recollections on such deep and heavy
subjects. Therefore the enjambment gives the idea of a continuous feeling. The Cold
Heaven ends on a question mark: `By the injustice of the skies for punishment?' and it

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Yeats is questioning existence itself. The fact that
Yeats has placed the words `skies' and `punishment' together in a question leads us to
wonder whether this is a pious poem. Or it could be questioning the existence of
religion and God. The lines of Cold Heaven seem to be in a continuous whirlwind of
emotion.…read more

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The Cold
Heaven seems infused with a sense of otherworldly or unknown experiences.
Additionally the line, `out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken by the
injustice of the skies for punishment' has connotations of religion and themes from
Christianity. Perhaps it could be suggested that Yeats is referring to holy books and
religious ideas. The fact that he is: `out naked' proposes that Yeats feels we are born
into this world with nothing and therefore we should leave with nothing.…read more

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