Wuthering Heights Relationships

In the 19th century novel Wuthering Heights, one of the main characters, passes away fairly early in the story plot of the novel. This change in the story seems to completely change the dynamics of the traditional romance story of the 19th century, and changes it into much more of a Shakespeare tragedy.

It is evident throughout the book that Heathcliff and Catherine have feelings for each other. This supports the theme of a traditional romantic love story. But when Catherine dies abruptly in the story, it poses a very untraditional plot twist considering where the storyline seemed to be headed. This leads me to believe that the author had almost a mid-story change from a classic love, to the ultimate star-crossed lover demise.

It especially seems to be tragic on Heathcliff’s part due to the built-up relationship Heathcliff had with Catherine and her family. And as readers, to loose one of the main characters and especially one that was fairly liked, is tough.

Given this situation, the story then changes to how Heathcliff deals with the existing adversity, and now how he copes with loosing a lover and friend.


Analysis of a Drinking Song

I chose A Drinking Song, by William Butler Yeats to analyze for a variety of reasons. I particularly like the simplicity of not only the language, but the message. It is not a particularly abstract or deep thought poem, but is a poem with a clear message none the less. The basic plot of the poem, as I saw it, is there is a man drinking a glass of wine, reflecting on his choices in life.

A Drinking Song
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

On the first read, there are no words that are particularly unfamiliar; however, every word seems to have been deliberately chosen based on the context and point of the message. Key words that I thought were crucial to the overall message of the poem were wine, mouth, love, eye, know, truth, look, and sigh. I chose to specially acknowledge these words because if they were to be changed, the entire message of the poem would then be too.
In the first two lines, there are two fairly straight forward statements. The first is regarding the consumption of wine through the mouth (nothing super novel about this idea), and the second in how love comes through the eye. When I saw the word eye I first think of images and how a perceive my surroundings. Then I went back to the word love and had a bit of an “ah-ha” moment. Through this line, Yeats has specifically defined what the eye is seeing in this particular situation.
Following these two statement-type lines, Yeats continues on in the following two lines to describe that these are the only two things we shall know as a sort of “end-all, be-all” facts before we die. The key words that give me this sense are all and truth. When used in context, these two words denote that the person in the poem will know nothing else regarding life that is concrete definitive before passing away.
The final two lines is where the culmination of the previous four lines is. In a very systematic way, Yeats has defined two fairly simple statements, and has told the reader that these two statements are all we know as facts of life. Then, in the most abstract part of the poem he describes how he lifts the glass to his mouth and sighs. Since by already defining that wine comes in at the mouth, and love comes in at the eye, in the last line we now know as readers that Yeats is comparing love to wine.
But what really gives the concept and text of the poem a mood is the very last word, sigh. although the word love usually denotes happiness or joy, Yeats says he sighs when he sees the glass of wine appear in front of his face.
Another interesting connotative element to the poem is how Yeats states that wine coming in through the mouth and love coming in through the eye is all we’re ever going to know before we die. I thought die gave a very sharp contrast to the word love here; almost a life/death, happy/sad dualism.
As far as the mechanics of the poem, Yeats played with the elements of sound and line length and punctuation in particular to support the concept and message of the poem. There is a very obvious rhyme scheme of A B A B. This works to support the poem’s namesake, A drinking Song. This scheme very well gives the poem a song type rhythm.
Line length is another fairly simple element to this poem, which I think adds to the idea of simplicity. Each line in the poem is exactly seven syllables long with the exception of the first line, which is six. This also works with the rhyme scheme to give it a song feeling.
The last element that really stuck out to me was the punctuation of the poem. While reading the poem, I noticed that some lines have periods, some have commas or semicolons, and some end with or contain no punctuation mark at all. From this punctuation, I gathered that as a reader I was to read the poem with strict punctuation. When I did, certain lines ran together and worked as one fluid thought, while other lines were separated into emphasized phrases. The most obvious example of this is in the last line where a comma is used to separate, “I look at you, and I sigh.” When read aloud, this comma gives huge emphasis to the last three words as they work together to give an emotion of regret or a certain anguish.
Overall, I found this poem to be really thought provoking and cause me, as a reader, to do some introspection of my life choices. Although I can’t definitively say, I feel that this was the intended reaction for readers to have. Yeats wanted readers to see life through the eyes of a person who has only lived for his drink, and how bleak his life has become that his idea of love come from the bottom of a glass.


Connotation and Denotation Meaning

After reading Blackberry Picking and The Fish, I found two phrases that I thought were good examples of both connotative and denotative meaning.

The first one is from the Blackberry Picking that reads, “Late August, given heavy rain and sun…” In this phrase there is both a connotative and denotative meaning. The author describes the elements of rain and sun as heavy. While we in the context we can picture heavy meaning a large downpour of rain, and large amounts of sunlight; we also literally can picture a ‘heavy mass’ of sun and rain when looking at it from a denotative standpoint.

In the second poem, The Fish, the phrase I chose was “The water drives a wedge of iron Through the iron edge of the cliff…” The obvious connotative meaning here would be that the strength of the water is eroding the cliff that is extremely strong. The use of the word iron the second time is used as a metaphor to compare the strength and hardiness of the cliff to the toughness of iron itself. Iron can also be seen here denoting the general ideas of strength, power, toughness and longevity.


The Windhover

For me, The Windhover was a really unpleasant poem to read. It was a tongue twister from hell. The content of the poem was really hard to follow because of this. The first time I read it, I was reading just to get through and pronounce the words. the second time I read it, I tried to find out what it was actually about. Finally, the third time I realized it was about this magnificent bird Hopkins had spotted. Although dumbfounded may not be the best word to describe the emotion I feel in this poem, I think that is what his initial reaction was, based on what I read in this poem.

Overall, not a real pleasant poem to read, simply because it was so obscure in meaning that I basically got lost.


Analysis of a Football Poem

The assignment in class regarding finding a collection of seemingly unpoetic words or several phrases and placing them in the form of a poem seemed a little odd at first. My initial thought was “honestly how is this going to even begin to improve my English and writing skills?” However, as I began the process of selecting a section of seemingly irreverent text, and started to build it into a type of poetic form, my perception of the language and words began to change.

Here is what I chose for my poem. This is from an article in USA Today Sports section published on January 15th. (I titled it.)


You are looking at
Payton Manning,

Andrew Luck
Some of those guys had chances to leave early in there career

But didn’t

They decided to come back for another year
I want to do that as well.

At first glance these blocks of text probably look like meaningless phrases out of context, and really, they are. However is we look closely at each line and try to rid our mind of this “automatism” of perception, deeper meaning and emphasis can be seen in each line. For instance, I chose to split the sentence containing the quarterback’s names between each name to bring emphasis to each name. I thought it would be more profound to have Payton Manning’s (an 18 year career QB) name on top to emphasize his accomplishments.

I also chose to have the phrase “But didn’t” stand as it’s own stanza to make it stand out. I felt this was important because when I first read this block of text in the paper it seemed to me like this was the main point the speaker was trying to make, and I still wanted this idea to be articulated in the poem.

I feel that the way I have constructed this poem is similar to the poems regarding Donald Rumsfeld for several reasons. One is that both were made out of smilingly completely unpoetic phrases. Another is that each poem had some sort of effect on the reader that was completely different form what it was intended to be in its original form. In the case of the Rumsfeld poems, they brought humor. I thought my poem brought a feeling of inspiration that would have otherwise not existed unless put into a poetic form.