Without a doubt, poetry allows the reader to observe their surroundings in a new kind of light. Poetry enlightens readers to different heights enabling them to gain new ideas and impressions of the physical world, the society and nature around them. In the poems to be discussed, Ode to Autumn written by John Keats and Ode to the West Wind written by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the reader s eyes are opened to the new world of the season of Autumn. The persona of both poems show great admiration for Autumn and praise all its aspects. The poets describe a variety of items in the season of Autumn which allow the reader to be able to imagine the world that the poet is placing before them and to understand what it is that makes the persona glorify and compliment the season.
This is done through a use of linguistic techniques including personification, auditory imagery, rhetorical questions, metaphors, similes and many more. These techniques will be discussed in reference to poetry creating new views of the world. The main theme in Ode to Autumn is the beauty of Autumn. The author concentrates on giving Autumn a personal touch and feel to allow readers to be able to see all the wonders of Autumn. Autumn is often described as dark, harsh and bringing death, here, the writer praises Autumn, showing its splendour and elegance to all. This is seen when the author describes Autumn as a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
This being the first line in the poem, introduces the idea that Autumn is not as menacing as it is usually assumed, but a soft, mature season full of abundance and productivity. The use of alliteration also used in this quote creates a slow, sleepy feeling showing the reader its quiet nature. In the first stanza the poet presents to the reader a new concept of Autumn by telling the writer what the Autumn does. Autumn is one with the sun, conspiring with him, devising ways for the trees, and vines to bear fruit and flowers. The technique used here is personification. Autumn is given a human quality of conspiring, scheming through which the reader can relate to its behaviour and hence, understand it.
The reader is introduced to Autumn as a season which brings life and hope, filling fruit with ripeness and flowers for the bees. The second stanza of Ode to Autumn immediately captures the reader with a rhetorical question, Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store The effect of using a rhetorical question allows the reader to stop for a moment and reflect on what is being asked, reflecting on Autumn itself and what it may appear to be like. The author then uses the rest of the stanza to answer the question. The author displays a few images of Autumn which add further to the new images of Autumn that the poem introduces the reader to. On a half-reaped furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies. The technique used in this quote is imagery.
The reader is presented with an image of Autumn that is drowsy, lazy and sleepy. The effect is transporting the reader to another time and place where they can experience the feel of Autumn in a calm state of serenity. There is also use of olfactory imagery where the writer introduces to the reader the smell of poppies, which is associated with Autumn. The poet compares the Autumn to a gleaner, which is shown through the use of a simile, sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook. A gleaner is a person who gathers corn, which is left behind by the reapers. In this comparison, the reader s mind is open to this view that Autumn is very much like a gleaner in that it collects the left overs from previous seasons but remaining stable and abundant and prosperous as well.
The author also suggests to the audience as Autumn having a patient look with which thou watches the last oozings, hours by hours. The personification of Autumn where it is said to have a patient look, is effective in that the audience is then provided with an concept of Autumn as diligent, submissive and humble. It is given human qualities, which present to the reader the thought that Autumn is actually quite noble. The repetition of hours and hours and the use of the word oozings create a mellow atmosphere for the description of Autumn. This is effective because when the lines are read it is impossible to not slow down the pace of reading to feel the Autumn to its full effect as inert. The use of this technique of choice of words and repetition deliberately connects the reader to a feeling of unhurried, smooth and delicate touch of Autumn breezing through on a day.
The third and final stanza of Ode to Autumn, starts with similarly to the second stanza with use of rhetorical questions. The purpose of this is again, to have the reader reflect on the behaviour and attitudes of Autumn. The difference is that this stanza asks the author to concentrate on the sounds of Autumn. The use of auditory imagery here is to enable the reader to be capable of associating various sounds which are connected to Autumn in order to really understand Autumn and appreciate it for its beauty and bringing of life as well as what is usually identified with Autumn death, coldness and depression. Ode to the West Wind deals with the appreciation of the West wind in the season of Autumn. The main objective of the writer is to introduce the reader to a new perception of Autumn, one that exults and glorifies its grace and charm as well as discusses some of its darker features.
The first lot of stanzas, introduces Autumn and the wind as a destroyer and preserver. This is in fact, a paradox, a seeming contradiction between two words. The use of this paradox is to show both sides of the West wind and its power. It is a destroyer because in bringing Autumn and the West wind, it also brings death to the life which came about in the Summer seasons before it. The wind is a preserver because it blows the winged seeds, where they lie cold and low Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow. What the poet is trying to say is that the West Wind moves seeds to a place where it shall maintain, shelter and protect them from the winter and then bring them back to life in the Spring.
The use of the simile in this quote is to present an idea of death, to the audience, that is connected to Autumn and its wind. Another simile used is driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, this creates an image within the reader of the strength and authority of the Wind that enables it to blow leaves around in the confusion of Autumn. In the first line the wind is personified as thou breath of Autumn s being. This is showing that the wind gives life and that Autumn is a living thing not just something that is dying. It is an important issue that creates a new idea for the reader, hence creating a new vision on the world of Autumn.
The poet makes use of colour imagery in order to allow readers to be able to visualise the colours that can be seen in the time of Autumn. Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, the colours here are used effectively to show the wide range of colours of the leaves which are blown out of control by the West wind in a frenzied, chaotic manner. A colour is also used to describe the colour of Spring azure. This colour has an unusual name but basically it means blue. The use of exotic colours adds life to the season of Spring, which in a way contrasts with the colours of Autumn.
In the second lot of stanzas the simile, loose clouds like decaying leaves are shed, project another image of death relating to Autumn. This entire lot of stanzas is a complete contrast to the first in that, Autumn is now shown as extremely dark, powerful, sturdy and forceful. It becomes evident to the reader, the passion of the West Wind, its destruction and force. Angels of rain and lightning! This is a short, simple sentence, highlighted with an exclamation mark. Short simple sentences are used to show quick movement and action.
This is effective because it opens to the reader a world where Autumn is capable of controlling everything in its surroundings. The exclamation adds more emphasis to this idea of control and corruption. The author makes an allusion when referring to some fierce Maenad, who is a brutal and ferocious woman in mythology. This allows the audience to be able to image the strength of this wind because it is comparing it to something which the audience may have some knowledge of. Again, the allusion stress the power of the wind, which becomes an image of the wind and Autumn, entwined carefully into the minds of the audience. In the third lot of stanzas, the Wind is noted to cause significant changes to the Mediterranean.
In the Summer the Mediterranean is clear, flat and lifeless. In the Autumn, the West wind brings the Mediterranean to life, making it dangerous and menacing, Thou didst waken from his summer dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline stream. The author writers of how powerful the West Wind is that is it capable of taking calm peaceful areas and turning them into rough territories that fear the Wind, The sapless foliage of the ocean know Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear. In the next group of stanzas there is a change in the narrative, the poet is now writing in first person narrative using personal pronouns, If I were a dead leaf thou might est bear. The use of this is to create an intimate atmosphere so that the reader may lose themselves in a world where they can visualise the power and supremacy they d have if they were like the wind. The poet compares himself to the West Wind and admires its passion, and power and wishes that it be possible for him t have some of that power.
"If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share The impulse of thy strength. The writer also admires the West Wind s freedom and how it can not be controlled by anyone or anything, Than thou, O uncontrollable! There is a great deal of exclamation marks, which punctuate the end of each sentence, creating fast action thus creating a vision of an accelerating, thrashing. powerful wind. Oh! Lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! The use of hyphenated words also adds to the pace of the wind.
It enables the reader to pause and then place more intense emphasis on the following words or phrases, which is what the poet wants. One too like thee tameless, and swift, and proud. In the final group of stanzas, the poet continues to speak of how he wants to be like the West Wind. He wants the wind to be his inspiration and to make him an instrument. There is a rhetorical question, used to provoke thought within the reader.
This question, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind suggests that there is always something to look forward to and even though there is death there will always be life continuing on. The wind is prophesising that Spring is going to come which again shows the reader a new vision in the world that there is rebirth. As discussed, both Ode to Autumn and Ode to the West Wind are poems which create new visions of the world to the reader. Visions of Autumn which are admirable and commendable. Even though there are some dark aspects of Autumn which are displayed, these aspects are made to be supreme, dominate and mighty. To effectively show that poetry indeed allows for readers to enter into new worlds, both poets, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley use language techniques effectively to capture the essence of other worlds and visions..