English Literature - Unit 2 - The River God

The River God - What is the poem about?
The river god says he likes it when people (especially women) go shopping. He says he'll down anyone who isn't careful. One day a woman goes swimming and drowns when she gets too close to the cliffs. He doesn't want the woman to leave him.
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The River God - Form
The poem is a dramatic monologue. The poem uses regular rhyming couplets which give the poem a songlike quality. Enjambment makes the poem flow like the movement of water.
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The River God - Structure
At the beginning of the poem, the river god is presented as friendly as innocent. As the poem goes on, the ideas become more threatening and possessive. This is emphasised by the hidden warning near the end and the ominous final line of the poem.
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The River God - Power and objectification
The river god seems desperate to keep the woman on the river bed. He is possessive over her and doesn't want her to leave. He repeatedly calls her beautiful and focuses on her face and body which suggests that he values her appearance - sexual?
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The River God - Contrast
The old smelly river contrasts with the beautiful woman. The river god uses affectionate language which contrasts with the harsh reality of the woman's death and makes it seem more shocking.
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The River God - Euphemism
The river god suggests that the woman is sleeping rather than dead. He uses ambiguous language and images of love rather than death which suggest he's deluded into thinking that she might love him in return.
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The River God - Feelings and attitudes in the poem?
Love - desires women...Arrogance - He's powerful but careless and treats the dying humans like toys. This suggests that he considers human life to be quite significant....Selfishness - He's possessive over the woman and doesn't want to share her.
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The River God - What euphemisms does the river god use and how do they affect our opinion of him?
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The River God - What sort of image of a god does the poet create?
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The River God - Why do you think the river god is presented as a male character?
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The River God - What, if anything, do you think the poet is saying about male and female relationships?
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The River God - What can you compare this poem with?
Ozymandias - powerful things, humans are insignificant.
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The River God - What is the effect of "I"?
First person narrative - personal and direct.
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The River God - What is the effect of "bless"?
Sounds god-like and kind at first.
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The River God - What is the effect of "I like the people to bathe in me, especially women."
Suggests sexual desire.
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The River God - What is the effect of "they take a long time drowning, As I throw them up now and then in the spirit of clowning.
Death contrasts with his playful descriptions - he doesn't understand mortality.
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The River God - What is the effect of "She lies in my beautiful deep river bed with many a weed, To hold her, and many a waving reed."?
Ambiguous - he appears gentle and affectionate but also possessive.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The River God - Form

Back

The poem is a dramatic monologue. The poem uses regular rhyming couplets which give the poem a songlike quality. Enjambment makes the poem flow like the movement of water.

Card 3

Front

The River God - Structure

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

The River God - Power and objectification

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

The River God - Contrast

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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