| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.

View
 

Asian Poetry

Page history last edited by msward 10 years, 3 months ago

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


Return to Assignments Page

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First, locate your assigned poem either in our Asian Poetry packet or online below.  Read through your poem once just to get a sense of the style and subject matter of the piece.  Then, use this online site to learn a bit more about the author of your poem.
  2. Having learned a bit about the author, find your poem in our printed packet.  Gloss your assigned poem.  Circle and define unfamiliar words, highlight interesting and significant lines, and begin to write your comments and questions in the margins of the poem.
  3. Next you will write a paragraph of literary analysis and post it next to your assigned poem on this website. Use what you know about writing a text-rooted paragraph to guide you as you draft your response.  Never used a wiki before.  Before you post your response, play around in the Sandbox to learn how to use one.
  4. Your paragraph will answer the following question: What comment is the author trying to make about life? (In other words, what is the theme?)
  5. Your paragraph should be rooted in the text, pointing to specific lines and words choices that support your interpretation. What inferences and interpretations can you make from the words and literary devices that the author employs?    
  6. Grading Criteria:

 

    • The student develops a specific, well written theme statement (the thesis of the analysis) that analyzes the comment the author is trying to make about life. (5 points)
    • The student develops his or her theme by effectively analyzing specific lines, word choices, and literary devices employed by the author of the assigned poem.  (10 points)
    • The student roots inferences and interpretations in the text of the poem. The student clearly explains his or her connections and analysis. (10 points)
    • The prose demonstrates a consistent ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing. (5 points)
  1. POSTED ANALYSIS DUE FRIDAY, MAY 28th (end of class on Friday). When you are finished with your post and it is ready to be graded, change the color of your text to tan (top row, second color on the left).

 

South Asian Poetry

 

 

EUNICE DE SOUZA

 

 

Eunice de Souza is Head of the Department of English in St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. Acknowledged as one of the best Indian poets writing in English, de Souza was born in Pune in 1940, to Roman Catholic parents of Goan origin. She grew up in Pune after she lost her father at the age of three.

 

De Souza studied English Literature in India and the United States and has been teaching the same for over 25 years. She has also been involved in theater as an actress and director, has written for leading newspapers, usually as a fierce literary critic. She has also written some very popular books of children's fiction, apart from orchestrating "Ithaka" the highly-esteemed literary festival held annually on the Xavier's campus. She has four published children's books, but teaching remains the constant in her life.

Marriages Are Made

By Eunice deSouza

My cousin Elena
is to be married
The formalities
have been completed:
her family history examined
for T.B. and madness
her father declared solvent
her eyes examined for squints
her teeth for cavities
her stools for the possible
non-Brahmin worm.
She's not quite tall enough
and not quite full enough
(children will take care of that)
Her complexion it was decided
would compensate, being just about
the right shade
of rightness
to do justice to
Francisco X. Noronha Prabhu
good son of Mother Church.

1st SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  KRISTAN

           

     The theme for the poem “Marriages Are Made” is gender decides power.  Although this is not always how  power is deciphered, it is prominent throughout this piece that men receive more power than the women in South Asia.  In order for a woman to get married, she has to go through a series of tests and examinations.  The woman described in the poem is treated as an investment; like a piece of new land.  Her health is checked, and even her father’s financial stability is an important asset in whether or not the bride is fit for her suitor.  Also, Elena (the woman the poem is about) is referred to in a manner that furthermore shows how she is not seen as important.  One line says, “She’s not quite tall enough / and not quite full enough…Her complexion it was decided would compensate”.  With this being stated, Elena is portrayed as something more so as a bargaining chip rather than a woman.  With these examples, a reader can come to the conclusion thatgender plays a big role in power within South Asia.

1st SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  MARCIA

 

      Truly valuing a person entitles one to look beyond the classic roles of men and women and to accept the other’s imperfections both physically and personally.  In this poem “Marriages Are Made” Elena is picked apart by her family. It states in the poem “She’s not quite tall enough and not quite full enough”. The family is seeing if she is good enough to marry the man but it’s all based on a physical instead of intellectual or personal criteria. Also, the poem references the classic roles of men and women when it states “…And not quite full enough (children would take care of that)…” This line in the poem possibly gives off the idea of the old fashion role of women being the “perfect” stay at home mothers that want many children. Lastly, the line in the poem “the right shade of rightness” implies that “perfect” sense. The poem doesn’t mention anything else about her other then her appearance and what may be expected of her (children).

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  JESS

     The theme that the author is trying to portray is that love tends to be a second priority, if any, in an honorable Asian marriage. The author's sister, Elena, is experiencing the process that leads up to an arranged marriage. In order for her to get married she must pass several prerequisites such as having a normal family history, clean medical records, a not-too-tall height, etc. From a western reader's point of view it may be considered superficial, however it is only custom in South Asia. Marriage is not done out of love for another individual, but rather to continue the family name and keep the family's honor intact.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  MG

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  PAIGE

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

 

 

A.K. RAMANUJAN

 

A.K. Ramanujan, born in Mysore, India in 1929, came to the U.S. in 1959, where he remained until his death in Chicago on July 13, 1993 (Ramazani, 1988).  Not only was Ramanujan a poet, but he was also a  scholar, translator, linguist, and folklorist.  Although he wrote primarily in English, he was fluent in both Kannada, the common public language of Mysore, and Tamil, the language of his family, as well.

 

 

Ramanujan received his BA and MA in English language and literature from the University of Mysore.  He then spent some time teaching at several universities in South India before getting a graduate diploma in theoretical linguistics from Deccan University in Poona in 1958.  The following year, he went to Indiana University where he got a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1963.

 

In 1962, he became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, where he was affiliated throughout the rest of his career.  However, he did teach at several other U.S. universities at times, including Harvard, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of California at Berkeley, and Carlton College.  At the University of Chicago, Ramanujan was instrumental in shaping the South Asian Studies program.  He worked in the departments of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, Linguistics, and with the Committee on Social Thought.  In 1976, the government of India awarded him the honorific title "Padma Sri," and in 1983, he was given the MacArthur Prize Fellowship (Shulman, 1994).

 

A River

By A. K. Ramanujan

In Madurai,
city of temples and poets,
who sang of cities and temples,
every summer
a river dries to a trickle
in the sand,
baring the sand ribs,
straw and women's hair
clogging the watergates
at the rusty bars
under the bridges with patches
of repair all over them
the wet stones glistening like sleepy
crocodiles, the dry ones
shaven water-buffaloes lounging in the sun
The poets only sang of the floods.

He was there for a day
when they had the floods.
People everywhere talked
of the inches rising,
of the precise number of cobbled steps
run over by the water, rising
on the bathing places,
and the way it carried off three village houses,
one pregnant woman
and a couple of cows
named Gopi and Brinda as usual.

The new poets still quoted
the old poets, but no one spoke
in verse
of the pregnant woman
drowned, with perhaps twins in her,
kicking at blank walls
even before birth.

He said:
the river has water enough
to be poetic
about only once a year
and then
it carries away
in the first half-hour
three village houses,
a couple of cows
named Gopi and Brinda
and one pregnant woman
expecting identical twins
with no moles on their bodies,
with different coloured diapers 
to tell them apart.

Analysis of the Poem:    SAM

 

     It is evident from A. K. Ramanujan's poem, A River, that many of India's problems are overlooked such as drought, India's pain and suffering, and the death of a pregnant woman. Ramanujan states that "In Madurai. . .every summer a river dries to a trickle in the sand. . . The poets only sang of the floods." This shows that the observed, important, somehow noteworthy and notable events in Madurai are the floods. The poets, whose writings last forever, neglect the fact that Madurai goes through more trouble than a once a year flood. Later Ramanujan says that when the drought comes "in the sand / baring the sand ribs / straw and women's hair / at the rusty bars / under the bridges with patches / of repair all over them." This is a metaphor for the true pain that India feels. When all of the "water under the bridge" dries up, India's true self is no longer concealed by water. The straw, hair, rusty bars, and repair show filth, neglect and failed attempts to heal a broken nation. Ramanujan goes on to say that "the river . . . carries away. . .a couple of cows / named Gopi and Brinda / and one pregnant woman." The fact that the cows are given a name and the pregnant woman is not reveals that cows are seen as more important than a people. Ramanujan's wry voice shows the irony of this situation begging the reader to ask why the woman is so much less important than two animals. This poem is very insightful in that it shows the discounted problems facing India today including drought, India's pain and suffering, and the death of a pregnant woman.

Analysis of the Poem:   ELANA

 

      The theme for the poem, “The River” is that names have power. The first example of this is when the cows are named in the poem, “and a couple of cows named Gopi and Brinda as usual”. This is significant because unlike other people and animals the cows, Gopi and Brinda are the only ones named. The idea of them being the only ones named shows that when they are killed in the flood they are the only ones recognized, and remembered in the story. This is also important because it foreshadows and alludes to India today. In India, cows are considered the most holy and sacred animal, and in this poem cows are the only characters named, giving them strength and power. Another example of this theme is when the woman and her children are left unnamed, “and one pregnant woman expecting identical twins”. This is significant because the fact that they have no name leaves them powerless. They are not remembered for anything when the flood comes and takes them away. This is also significant to the way women are treated in India. Just like the poem, the women are considered second-class and powerless. Some do not have an education, vote, or work, and they are left as unknown or anonymous when they leave the world. From these examples it becomes clear how women are treated in relation to animals in India. Furthermore, this poem expresses what identity a person or animal has, and what power then can gain from their name.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  AUSTIN B.

     In the poem A River, A.K. Ramanujan is telling people that the less fortunate suffer a great deal and people should care more about them.  Ramanujan says in the poem “ People everywhere talked of the inches rising…and the way it carried off three village houses..”  A.K. is describing the floods in India sweeping away the less fortunate’s houses.  Ramanujan also states “…but no one spoke in verse of the pregnant woman drowned, with perhaps twins in her, kicking at blank walls even before birth.”  This phrase is referring to how no one thought of the less fortunate pregnant woman who was caught up in the drowning houses.  A.K. is trying to make a point that some people are inconsiderate and don’t seem to care about those who are poorer and not as lucky.  India’s floods sweep away many lives every year and it would be right for more to start caring.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  AARON B.

     

    There is a clear theme in A River that the good is always overlooked when next to the bad. People tend to only focus on the bad parts of everything, and they try to find flaws in everything. The media does this all the time. People hear of bombings, shootings, death, and riots twice as much as they hear about peace, birth, and joys in life. In his poem, A. K. Ramanujan says “The poets only sang of the floods.” This is implying that the visitor in the poem who comes to the town only hears of the badness about the flooding, and how it is destroying everything. He hears of “…the way it carried off three village houses, one pregnant woman and a couple of cows named Gopi and Brinda as usual.”  In this town, the people have only seen the bad in the floods. They’ve seen their homes washed away. They’ve seen their sacred animals die. They’ve seen the gift of life snatched away by the floods. However, they’ve also never taken the time to look on the bright side of things, of “the wet stones glistening like sleepy crocodiles, the dry ones shaven water-buffaloes lounging in the sun.” There is beauty that comes with the floods in India, but the author doesn’t see it. In societies today, this theme is greatly applied. Front-page headlines show bombings in Iraq, the number of homicides in Philadelphia in the past year, and the economic recessions and spikes in gas price. What people overlook are the smaller, happier articles hidden inside the newspaper, of reforms made locally or marriages of couples or baby boys and girls being born. When learning about India in school, students tend to learn about the hardships of religious conflict and overpopulation, without taking time to see the beauties of its landscape. In life, though it is a sad thing to say, people will overlook the good in life to dwell on the bad.


 

 

SAROJINI NAIDU

 

Born in 1879, Sarojini Naidu was a distinguished poet, renowned freedom fighter and one of the great orators of her time. Her father Aghoranath Chattopadhyaya was a good scholar of Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew, Persian and English. He was principal of Nizam's college at Hyderabad, now capital of Andhra Pradesh. Sarojini's mother Varadasundari Devi wrote poetry in Bengali and knew Sanskrit. Sarojini was the eldest among their eight children. All the children grew learning and speaking besides Bengali, their mother-tongue, Urdu, Telugu and English. One of her brothers Birendranath was a revolutionary and spent his life outside India all the time for fear of getting extradited for sedition and black waters. Other brother Harindranath was a poet, dramatist and actor. 

Later in life, she gave up writing poetry and fully devoted herself to emancipation of women, education, and Hindu-Muslim unity. She became a follower of Gandhi and accompanied him to England. Whenever in England, she openly criticized British rule in India which caught the attention of scholars and intellectuals.

The Bangle Sellers

By Sarojini Naidu

Bangle sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair...
Who will buy these delicate, bright
Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Lustrous tokens of radiant lives,
For happy daughters and happy wives.

Some are meet for a maiden's wrist,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist,
Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow with the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves
Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart's desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,

Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.
Some are purple and gold flecked grey
For she who has journeyed through life midway,
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband's side.

Analysis of the Poem:   JULIA

 

    One theme that can be derived from Sarojini Naidu’s poem The Bangle Sellers is that bangles can not only be a colorful symbol of the stages of a woman’s life, but they can be empowering tokens they carry with them to be reminded of moments in their existence.  Before one even reads the poem, they can understand how this theme might be derived from Naidu’s work by reading her bio. Besides a poet, she was a renowned freedom fighter, and later in her life she gave up writing poetry to fully devote herself to the emancipation of women. Based on this it is very likely Naidu would include a positive impression of women in her writings and a message of their strength. The first instance of this theme in the poem is when the author, describing bangles, calls them: “Lustrous tokens of radiant lives, for happy daughters and happy wives.” Not only is the author saying here that bangles are worn throughout women’s lives, as they progress from a daughter to a wife for instance, but that bangles are tokens of these times, representing a woman’s life as something she can wear to remember her childhood, her marriage, and so on. An additional example of this theme of the double purpose of bangles is when, in the last stanza of the poem, Naidu lists all the occasions different bangles are worn on and the times in a woman’s life they can represent. She writes: “Some are purple and gold flecked grey for she who has journeyed through life midway, whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest, and cradled fair sons on her faithful breast, and serves her household in fruitful pride, and worships the gods at her husband’s side.” The certain styles of bangles symbolize the woman’s life; bangles for a woman who is a mother, a wife, and is wise with the number of years spent in her household and on this earth. The author is saying that bangles serve as a manifestation of when these things happened in her life, and she continues to wear them as a representation of her childhood, marriage, motherhood, etc. By wearing the bangles like years on their wrists, women are empowered in the eyes of the author. That is why the theme, bangles can not only be a colorful symbol of the stages of a woman’s life, but they can be liberating expressions they carry with them to be reminded of moments in their existence, comes so strongly out of this poem. It is no surprise Sarojini Naidu was a women’s activist, she truly believed in emancipating them, and it shows in this poem when she writes about jewelry being a memento for the fruitful responsibilities of their lives.

Analysis of the Poem:  SONDRA

 

      A possible theme for Sarojini Naidu’s poem The Bangle Sellers is that jewelry can hold more than just colors, but the life story of the one who wears it. This can be interpreted when she writes, “Lustrous tokens of radiant lives, for happy daughters and happy wives.” When she says this line she is saying that the bangles are more than just jewelry, but ‘lustrous tokens’ for happy lives. Sarojini also says that the people who will buy them are happy daughters and happy wives. It can be interpreted that when people buy these bangles, they are buying them as tokens to remember and savor a specific time period in their lives. Another line that supports this theme is when Sarojini says, “Some are purple and gold flecked grey, for she who has journeyed through life midway.” When this is stated she is describing a bangle that is for an older woman, like a mother, who has already journeyed through half of her life. The bangle could have been given to her from her child, symbolizing another stage in her life which would be being a mother. This poem is about women and with a feminist approach towards it, it is easily pointed out. While reading the authors biography, information is gained that Sarojini gave up writing poetry to fully devote her life to emancipating women. With this in mind, an interpretation of the poem can be that it tells the life a woman, beginning with her childhood in the second stanza, then moving to her getting married in the third stanza, and finally to her being a mother in the last stanza. With all of this information a theme develops and states that jewelry can hold more than just colors, but the life story of the one who wears it.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  LAURA D.

 

I felt that the poem was clear in the message it was trying to convey. It talks of bangles as a symbol for important strides in a womans life and how they are momentos of a life happily lived. A major theme from the poem is that little things in life can hold great significance or very important memories. The line, " Lustrous tokens of radiant lives," and the further talk of different colored bracelets for different events such as wedding nights or the joys, such as children, in the middle of your life gave me this impression. The way she described the bangles as delicate and tokens helped me write my theme. The bangles are seemingly small trinkets, but the colors and situations in which they are worn can make them remembered and remarkable. What struck me as odd though, was the whole tone of the poem and the last lines, "And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast, and serves her household in fruitful pride, and worships the gods at her husband's side." To me at first, the poem described the standard role that a women should play, an obediant daughter, then an obediant wife, a religious woman and a mother, who of course has sons and thinks of nothing but her household and family. I am definitely looking at this with a western bias, but I thought the poem could be interpreted as an example of the social standards placed on an Indian women. Then, reading the author's biography and re-reading the poem, I thought of the tone and the last lines differently. You can be a good wife, a good mother, and live a happy life without completely comforming to the subservant, obsequious, stereotypical role of a woman, but without my background knowledge of the author, the general tone of the poem does not seem to observe this alternative. If I had not read the author's biography I would not think of this poem as a symbol of women's liberation and happiness, but of a continuation of women's oppression.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  MOLLY

 

     One theme for the poem The Bangle Sellers could be the possible importance and depth of material things.  In this poem, bangles are used as a device through which the author describes nature and female life, taking bangles beyond a piece of jewelry.  The poem’s fifth and sixth lines first begin to introduce the significance of bangles with the lines, “Lustrous tokens of radiant lives, for happy daughters and happy wives.”  Already the author is making what could be overlooked as a smallish piece of jewelry into a symbol of happiness.  The poem continues on to describe the different varieties of bangles and their corresponding bits of life.  Connecting these bangles with such things as mountain mist, marriage fire, and bridal tears, the author shows that those bangles mean more than the material they’re made of.  The characteristics of the bangles are also worked into the description of the objects, such as, “Some are flushed like the buds that dream.” This line uses the coloring of the bangles to give details on the buds, putting the jewelry into the significant position that a reader depends upon for information.  This positioning of the detail and way of writing also is important in showing the significance of the bangles to the poem, and on a larger scale, the object to life.  The bangles are essential to the poem, completely necessary to the descriptions and understanding of the other objects, relaying the overall importance of the bangles.  This brings in the theme of the importance of material things.  Depth of such objects, in this case the bangles, was also apparent in the line, “Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear, like her bridal laughter and bridal tears.”  From a description of a bracelet, all of these qualities were found and used to describe a bride’s emotions, something that could not be done if the object had no depth.  The bangles make up most of the poem, which revolves mainly around them, solidifying the importance of the bangles.


2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  STEPH

  Sarojini Naidu did a very good job with this poem and she was trying to say that jewelry shows more than just art and color, but it can represent something much larger such as important life events. The poem is four stanzas long and in each stanza the reader reads about a piece of jewelry and a stage in life that corresponds with it. In the first stanza the reader sees that it is describing jewelry "for happy daughters and happy wives". This is the first stage of life, being a daughter and child. This piece of jewelry could remind the girl of her childhood. In the next stanza it is said that "some are meet for a maiden's wrist". This is the second stage of life which means that the girl is an adult but unmarried. This piece of jewelry could remind her of those years. In the third stanza the jewelry is "meet for a bride on her bridal morn". The young girl that started out as just a daughter is now getting ready to be married and start a new stage of life with her husband. The final stanza is "for she who had journeyed through life midway". The girl is now grown up, living with her husband and has a family of her own now.  This is to remind her of the times spent with her husband and children. Naidu is using symbolism to help show that there is more to a piece of jewelry than just the colors and the shapes. A piece of jewelry can represent much more and can hold much meaning and remembrance  behind it.

 

 

RABINDRANATH TAGORE

 

Born May 6, 1861, in Calcutta, Rabindranath Tagore became one of the prolific writers in the world, poet, artist, dramatist, musician, novelist, and essayist. He was completely at home both in Bengali and in English, in part because he was educated at University College, London, in 1879-80. He had become the national poet of Bengal by the time of his Golden Jubilee in Calcutta on January 28, 1912, but his international fame only came in November 1913 when he won the Nobel Prize for literature for Gitanjali, a collection of poetry initially brought out in Bengali in 1910 and then translated by the poet and published in English in 1912 with an introduction by W. B. Yeats. He translated so many volumes of his own Benjali poems personally that he can be regarded as an Anglo-Indian poet.

Tagore resided at Shantiniketan and Ashram and founded a school at the former place that turned into Visva-Bharati University in 1918.  Mrinalini Devi Raichaudhuri and he wed, in an arranged marriage, Dec. 9, 1883, and they had five children: three daughters and two sons. Tagore obtained honorary degrees from the universities of Calcutta (1913), Dacca (1936), Osmania (1938), and Oxford (1940). He died August 7, 1941, in Calcutta, and was cremated.

 

Krishnakali

By Rabindranath Tagore

In the village they call her the dark girl
but to me she is the flower Krishnakali
On a cloudy day in a field
I saw the dark girl's dark gazelle-eyes.
She had no covering on her head,
her loose hair had fallen on her back.
 
                    Dark? However dark she be,
                    I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes.
 
Two black cows were lowing,
as it grew dark under the heavy clouds.
So with anxious, hurried steps,
the dark girl came from her hut.
Raising her eyebrows toward the sky,
she listened a moment to the clouds' rumble.

                     Dark? However dark she be,
                    I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes.

A gust of the east wind
rippled the rice plants.
I was standing by a ridge,
alone in the field.
Whether or not she looked at me
Is known only to us two.

                    Dark? However dark she be,
                    I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes.

This how the Kohldark cloud
rises in the northeast in Jaistha;
the soft dark shadow
descends on the Tamal grove in Asharh;
and sudden delight floods the heart
in the night of Sravan.

                    Dark? However dark she be,
                   I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes.
 
To me she is the flower Krishnakali,
whatever she may be called by others.
In a field in Maynapara village
I saw the dark girl's dark gazelle-eyes.
She did not cover her head,
not having the time to feel embarrassed.

                    Dark? However dark she be,
                   I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes.

Analysis of the Poem:     CAROLINE

 

To begin, after I read and analyzed the poem, I discovered a few aspects of the meaning of this poem. After the author describes the general view of this "dark girl", he introduces her by what he believes she is, and that is, "the flower Krishnakali". Krishnakali is a combination of two well known gods within the Hindu religion. Together, one could translate the meaning into Destroyer and Purifier. Both balance eachother out, which ultimately concludes that this girl is a balance. To who?  Well that is unknown, except, it could possibly be that although, she is known to be dark, she is keeping people alive in a sane way. Also, maybe she balances the author out by her rawness. And that is what brings me to my next analyzation. She is so raw. In fact, she does not fold her character up, in the influence of her peers. She lets herself be in the midst of all her ignorant and apathetic surroundings (if you read the poem in depth, you'll understand...). And because of this, he ability to ignore and be, is why he finds her beauty stunning and balanceful. She is a force of balance. She is human, she is flawful; but her flaw makes her beautiful.

 

Also, the repetition of dark...pretty significant.

 

This is my theme that I came up with after I discovered that meaning of Krishnakali. Beauty comes though flaw.

 

 

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

EXAMPLE OF WELL ARTICULATED THEME STATEMENT SUPPORTED WELL BY EVIDENCE FROM THE POEM

Analysis of the Poem:  JON

     Reading Krishnakali by Rabindranath Tagore, the comment Tagore seems to be relaying is that the love between two people cannot be affected by the doubts of others. Throughout the poem, the line, “Dark? However dark she be, I have seen her dark gazelle-eyes,” is repeated. Tagore seems to use repetition to really emphasize the power of love. The “gazelle-eyes” seem to be a reference to the gazelle, which is known for its soft, lustrous gaze, creating a feeling of peace. The repetition of “dark” is connected to the line, “In the village they call her the dark girl but to me she is the flower Krishnakali.” “Krishna” means “dark,” and “kali” means “the black one.” When the village calls her the dark girl, it seems to have a negative connotation to it, but the narrator seems to put a positive spin on her skin color, saying she is a flower because flowers tend to be something that is desired, like growing flowers. Tagore also writes, “She did not cover her head, not having the time to feel embarrassed.” This seems to underline the girl’s defiance of the village people and traditions and relates to the narrator’s defiance of the village’s opinion of the girl.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  JOE

     The theme I chose for this poem was, Beauty is only defined by the perspective of one's visualization. I chose this theme because in this poem he discusses the beauty of a woman he desires for. He is very descriptive and explains the scenic details of their meeting. Such as a gust of east wind, and growing dark under heavy clouds. I think the scenery itself is very beautifully described; however, it is the women that he finds most attractive. We can tell that he finds great beauty in her eyes. He focuses on repeating the stanzas: Dark? However dark she be. I have seen her Gazelle eyes. By emphasizing on those eyes I think it acts as a symbol that represents their craving for another.  It also says that she is called other things in her village, but nevertheless is a flower to him. Therefore this is why Beauty is only defined by the perspective of one's visualization.

 


Chinese Poetry

The Poetry of Li Po and Tu Fu

 

 

LI PO

(701 – 762 C.E.), also known as Li Bai, and his comtemporary Tu Fu are regarded as the two greatest poets of the greatest period of Shih poetry. Li left his home at Ch'ang-ming, Szechwan, about 720, and for twenty years wandered from place to place, occasionally seeking official employment but not through the examinations. For a short period (742 - 4) he enjoyed favour as a court poet at the capital of Ch'ang-an, but thereafter he resumed his wanderings. Late in his life he was involved in the revolt of Prince Lin and banished (758) to Yeh-lang (Yunnan), but pardoned before he reached there. A great drinker and dabbler in Taoism, Li is the supreme example of irresponsibility among Chinese poets. 

-- from The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse, Edited by A.R. Davis, Penguin Books, 1962. 

 

 

 

 

Climbing West Of Lotus Flower Peak

 

Amongst the grandeur of Hua Shan
I climb to the Flower Peak,
and fancy I see fairies and immortals
carrying lotus in their
sacred white hands, robes flowing
they fly filling the sky with colour
as they rise to the palace of heaven,
inviting me to go to the cloud stage
and see Wei Shu-ching, guardian angel
of Hua Shan; so dreamily I go with them
riding to the sky on the back
of wild geese which call as they fly,
but when we look below at Loyang,
not so clear because of the mist,
everywhere could be seen looting
armies, which took Loyang, creating
chaos and madness with blood
flowing everywhere; like animals of prey
rebel army men made into officials
with caps and robes to match.

Analysis of the Poem:   KELLY

 

One of the themes from this poem is dreams must be seen before seeing reality.  The dreamlike scene that happens in the beginning of the poem can easily be taken as the author being drunk, because he was a bit of a drinker, however if it is flipped a tad, it becomes a little deeper.  When the author begins to say that he is on top of Flowers Peak, it is a magical place where he is able to dream and not think about reality.  He can look up at the sky and the natural beauty of the world and vision heaven while riding on the back of wild geese; bizarre dream, but a dream none the less.  That is when the mood of the poem begins to change.  It went from a happy piece to an almost depressing one.  This is when the author first mentions the war that had been going on only a few hundred feet away from him.  He says that it is difficult to see because of the mist, the sky and heavens trying to hide the violence from the dreamers, but he can still see everything.  The war he describes is mad and chaotic; the exact opposite of his peaceful dream.  The point of view in this poem is key because the author had to be taken out of his peaceful element to see the violent reality.

 

 

Analysis of the Poem:     RYAN

 

Li Po seems to be under the influence of something or is just a bit odd in his writing.  Anyway, on the surface this may seem like a random poem that doesn't make sense but as you dig deeper it becomes more clear.  He talks a little about the joy he gets from seeing this guardian angel, flying on top of wild geese, and he's on top of the world at Flower Peak, but then evil starts to set in.  Li refrences a fight and basically calls the people down below savage animals only difference is they have uniforms.  In all, the poem is really about balance.  He shows the little bit of good he has but evil and fighting come.  The basic comment that Li Po is trying to make is that there wouldn't be one without the other such as good without evil.  Li Po might not have the best way of showing he knows what he is talking about but once you get deeper into the poem and think critically Li Po seems like a very intelligent    poet.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  ANDREA

    A possible theme for the poem "Climbing West of Lotus Flower Peak" could be all good things have a down side.  Li Po lived a life of drinking and wandering.  At one point he was banished to Yeh-lang, so Li Po has endured some hardships in his lifetime.  At the beginning of the poem, Li Po seems to be describing a memory.  One might think this poem was written when he was intoxicated, but this is not made clear.  He begins the poem, or recollection, and uses descriptive phrases to paint his emotions such as, "I climb to the Flower Peak, and fancy I see fairies ad immortals carrying lotus in their sacred white hands."  Li Po is seeing fairies and colors of white which can be associated with happiness.  The Lotus represents faithfulness (in Buddhism at least).  Other Chinese poets have used the lotus flower to describe characters overcoming difficulties, which would relate to Li Po writing about himself overcoming difficulties.  But, the poem changes mood towards the end, and Li Po introduces the down side to this memory, "creating chaos and madness with blood flowing everywhere; like animals of prey rebel army men made into officials with caps and robes to match."  This harsh description leads to a down side of the memory.  This poem could be about Li Po's banishing, possibly by officials or policemen, or it could be about a time he felt at peace while intoxicated and the police came to arrest him.  The reader cannot be certain about the exact intended interpretation of the poem, but it is clear that this balance between good and bad in a situation is present in this poem.  It represents a good thing ending in a bittersweet way.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  MILES

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

 

 

The Lotus

 

 

In the deep sequestered stream the lotus grows,

Blooming fresh and fair in the morning sun.

Its glowing petals hide the clear autumn water,

And its thick leaves spread like blue smoke.

Alas! in vain its beauty excels the world.

Who knows? Who will speak of its rare perfume?

Lo, the frost will come, chilling the air,

And its crimson must wither, its fragrance fade.

Ill it has chosen the place to plant its root.

Would it could move to the margin of a flower pond!

 

Analysis of the Poem:  BEN A.

 

     The poem begins by talking about a lotus flower beginning to grow. It talks about it blooming into its beautiful form. “ Alas! Its vain beauty excels the world”. I interpreted this as the lotus is representing a human being born into the world. The beginning of the poem talks about the beauty it enters with and that can parallel the beauty and simple goodness of a baby. Then the poem ponders a question. “ Who knows? Who will speak of its rare perfume? This to me is talking about the potential of this new life. Who knows? Who will speak?. These could be referring to the vast opportunity and potential success of this new life. The “rare perfume could represent its skills and talents that this person can have. Finally the poem goes on to talk about negatives and challenges. It states “ Lo, the frost will come, chilling the air, and its crimson must wither, its fragrance fade”. This talks about the end that we all face. It will have its time to shine and be admired but and end will come to the flower and person it represents as well. The theme I derived from reading this poem is in life nothing lasts forever so enjoy what can be enjoyed with the time you have. This comes from the representation of the flower and a human who both are born and have their time to shine, be recognized, and enjoy life but also who both must come to an end.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  ALEX M.

     

   The poem, "The Lotus" by Li Po, seems to explain to its readers that over time the beauty of things will seem to diminish. Just as Robert Frost puts it, "Nothing gold can stay" (Frost). It seems that this poem directly relates to this quote because the first half (about the first five lines) of the poem describes the beauty of the lotus (which is the gold in this case), but the last half (around the last five lines) describes the lotus losing its beauty over time. In lines two and three Li Po talks about the lotus when he says, "Blooming fresh and fair in the morning sun. Its glowing petals hide in the clear autumn water…" (Po). When Li Po uses the wording of "fresh and fair" (Po) (which is also an alliteration), he describes the beauty of the newly sprouted lotus and how it is such a sight. Also when Li Po talks about the "glowing petals" (Po) he is mentioning how the lotus stands out to the world because of its beauty. However in the second half of the poem Li Po describes the beauty of this lotus diminishing. In lines seven and eight, Li Po describes the "downfall" of the beauty of the lotus when he says, "Lo, the frost will come, chilling the air, And its crimson must wither, its fragrance fade…" (Po). The coming of the "frost" represents the mortality/downfall of all things (living or not). The coming of the frost can represent the coming and going of the climax of all things, which can be compared one's mid-life crisis or even their death. When Li Po explains the withering of the crimson and the fading of its fragrance, he is explaining how the beauty is leaving the old lotus and that now it is facing a sign of its own mortality. Overall, the poem seems to represent the stages in a thing's life. At the beginning, much beauty is seen in the lotus how the view of its first blossoming is quite remarkable. However, by the end of the poem, which represents the end of the lotus' life, it is starting to wither (a sign that death approaches or that it is nearing its end) and its beauty has seemed to have left or is currently leaving that once magnificent flower. Some literary devices seen in "The Lotus" were alliteration and hyperbole. The alliteration seemed to enhance the description of the flower (like when it says "fresh and fair" in line two and "fragrance fade" in line eight) during its stages in life. There is hyperbole in line five when Li Po says, "Alas! in vain its beauty excels the world" (Po). Even though logically it is thought to be impossible that the beauty of a single lotus is great enough to excel the world, it seems that if one were able to take a look at this lotus that Li Po is describing, they would believe that the beauty of it could in fact excel the world if it were possible. This poem by Li Po is an outline of the life of any living or non-living thing in the sense that the beauty of all things will diminish over time one way or another.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  LIAM

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

 

 

 

 

TU FU

(712 – 770 C.E.) also known as Du Fu , unlike Li Po, got an official post fairly late in life (758), when the normal examination system had temporarily broken down during the rebellion of An Lu-shan. He met Li Po in 745, and was deeply impressed by the older poet in spite of, or perhaps because of, their very different personalities. He continued to write poems to, or about, Li for many years after. Tu was essentially serious, and his work, in contrast to Li Po's, commonly shows a greater interest in the condition of his times (he experienced great personal distress at the time of the rebellion). His emotional range seems greater than Li's and he is also a more intellectual poet. Of the two his immediate influence was greater.

-- from The Penguin Book of Chinese Verse, Edited by A.R. Davis, Penguin Books, 1962. 

 

ALONE IN HER BEAUTY


Who is lovelier than she? 
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley. 
She tells me she came from a good family 
Which is humbled now into the dust. 
...When trouble arose in the Kuan district, 
Her brothers and close kin were killed. 
What use were their high offices, 
Not even shielding their own lives? -- 
The world has but scorn for adversity; 
Hope goes out, like the light of a candle. 
Her husband, with a vagrant heart, 
Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade; 
And when morning-glories furl at night 
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side, 
All he can see is the smile of the new love, 
While the old love weeps unheard. 
The brook was pure in its mountain source, 
But away from the mountain its waters darken. 
...Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls 
For straw to cover the roof again, 
She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair, 
And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers, 
And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold, 
She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo. 

Analysis of the Poem:      MADDIE

 

     Time holds the ability to make us blind to the most beautiful things we have been blessed with for so long. Tu Fu describes this girl as the loveliest, saying that no one is “lovelier than she”. However, her husband has a heart that loves to wander, so he goes to search for a new beauty. After time has passed, he no longer realizes how truly lucky he is to have such a beautiful wife. Another theme conveyed through this poem is that although you think it is good to have money, when it comes down to it, it can’t always buy you your life. The girl’s family had a lot of money and power. However, “their  high offices could not shield their own lives". Meaning that despite the money they had, it still couldn't save them from the rebels who wanted to kill them. 

Analysis of the Poem:    TAYLOR

 

       Forget the hardships in life and look towards a brighter tomorrow. The girl in the poem experiences many difficulties throughout her life. First of all, she loses her family most likely as a result of the An Lu-Shan rebellion that was occurring at this time. Second, her husband has a wandering heart and he leaves her for another woman making her just a distant memory in the back of his mind. While he gazes into the eyes of the woman he adores she spends her time crying over her lost love. Lastly, she loses her money and shelter. She is forced to sell her pearls in order to afford straw to cover the roof of her residence in an empty valley. Due to all the bad in her life her “hope goes out, like the light of a candle.” However, towards the end she starts to see the brighter side of things. This is shown in the line, “and, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold, she leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.” Her thin clothing and the cold represent the tough times she has had to endure and the sunshine represents the good that is to come.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  NIKO

     In times of loss and tragedy, even those who seem loyal can run away from their fears. In this poem, it is portrayed that the husband leaves this young, beautiful wife after a tragic event that occurred in their life. Like a car, he is done with the old one and goes out and searches for a new love. His fear is that his wife, although beautiful and loyal, will not be able to provide what he needs after such a great loss in her life. His wandering heart cannot remain loyal to one love for long, especially after the tragedy that remains as her lost family and close kin.  “All he can see is the smile of the new love, while the old love weeps unheard.”

Another theme for this poem is lessons can be learned after a tragic event. In the poem, the female that the author is speaking of tells the reader that her brothers and kin were killed and her husband ran away to seek a new love. In the last four lines, I interpreted this as she has learned the beauty in nature, rather than the beauty in money. “She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair.” Specifically that line supports a theme that conveys finding the beauty in the natural. She has gone through such a hardship and has lost her family and husband, but she now sees through a new set of eyes that appreciates what she has, not what she could have.

 

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  DAN

     

     Love can bring happiness, however the loss of love can bring sorrow. TU FU tells a story about a women. She is a beautiful women who used to live a good life. She was rich in love, and happy. The women came "from a good family" (FU).  She had a husband, and wore silk. She loved this life, yet, when "trouble arose in the Kuan District" (FU). The trouble caused her to lose her family. Since she loved her family, losing them hurt her beyond belief. With her family gone  she wanted to give up. Her "Hope goes out, like the light of a candle" (FU). Then her life gets worse. Her husband cheated on her. He had a "vagrant heart"(FU). He was moving from women to women.  The women loved her husband, and when he grew bored of her he left her she was devastated. Since she loved him, it hurt her so much to lose him.  Now that every thing is gone, she "lives alone in an empty valley" (FU). From losing so much of what she loved, the women's life is now miserable.  


 

 

 

 

TO LI BAI AT THE SKY'S END


A cold wind blows from the far sky.... 
What are you thinking of, old friend? 
The wildgeese never answer me. 
Rivers and lakes are flooded with rain. 
...A poet should beware of prosperity, 
Yet demons can haunt a wanderer. 
Ask an unhappy ghost, throw poems to him 
Where he drowned himself in the Milo River. 

Analysis of the Poem:    MEGHAN

 

        A theme that fits the poem, To Li Bai at the Sky’s end, could be Life is a balancing act where one change or decision affects everything.  This is first seen through the author’s eyes as he remembers his friend Li Bai who had died. In the author, Tu Fu’s, bio it is said that Li Bai, was an alcoholic, and throughout the poem, Tu Fu explained the pressures and problems that Li had faced. Since Li wasn’t happy he was on the search for something greater, but the unhappiness never went away.  “… A poet should beware of prosperity, yet demons can haunt a wonderer”.  His choice to change his life and be a wonderer affected the rest of his life and changed who he was. His problems still came back where he soon resulted to alcohol.  Tu Fu then tries to show that he was a success and happy but it was too late and Li Bai had died.  From reading the poem people could assume that Li Bai committed suicide which was an affect from his past decisions. “Ask an unhappy ghost; throw poems to him where he drowned himself in the Milo River”.  The problem though is that his death could affect others such as Tu Fu and jeopardize his happiness or life.  When problems get too hard to handle they pull us down and make our lives unbalanced.  When Tu Fu had heard the news which he represents in the beginning, he views Li Bai differently, and the mood is melancholy the whole way through which means that the death of Li Bai had changed and affected his friend’s happiness. Those are the reasons that the theme, Life is a balancing act where one change or decision affects everything, Demonstrates the poem, To Li Bai at the Sky’s end.

Analysis of the Poem:     TIM

 

     A theme that fits this poem is happiness can't be found in material possessions.  Li had a drinking problem and because of his problem he ended up killing himself due to not being.  Tu Fu, his student, saw Li Po for who he really was.  I feel that the title doesn't fit because in the title "To Li Bai at the Sky's End" the sky's end does not make sense.  If Li was a man who did nothing but drink and write poetry fueled by the alcohol, then why would he be going to heaven?   Li didn't seem like the kind of guy who helped old ladies across the street.  When he couldn't find happiness in anything else, he turned to alcohol to make he happy.  Another line that didn't make sense was, "Rivers and lakes are flooded with rain."  In this line, I see the rain as tears being shed, and enough to fill rivers and lakes.  Was Li Po liked by many people?  I guess he was too drunk all of the time to see it.  Maybe if Li hadn't looked for happiness in materials, then his death never would have happened.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  PAT

      A theme to this poem is that if you are not remembered, then you never existed. Everyone is special to someone in some kind of unique way that others may not grasp onto. No one leaves the world without a trace; there is always some sort of a connection to a person you are close with. Li Bai, or Li Po, in this case, was very close to his student, Tu Fu. Li Po's death has affected Tu Fu's life even though it may have not affected others as much. "A cold wind blows from the far sky... What are you thinking of old friend?" The way Tu Fu says "old friend" tells me that he had a deep connection with his teacher poet. Since Li Po was described as a great drinker and held a reputation of being irresponsible, I feel like he was not wanted by many people. He seemed to be having a troublesome life and then he was finally able to meet someone to relate with. Li Po and Tu Fu shared the amazing skills of a true poet. Maybe Tu Fu's poem above is to reveal the truth about Li Po, rather than the negative and irresponsible side. Old friend... not just a friend. There is a reason why Li Po's legacy exists today, through the friendship of Tu Fu. They are both remembered in the past, present, and future.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  JEREMY

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

 

The Poetry of Taoism

 

Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius, was keeper of the imperial archives at Loyang in the province of Honan in the sixth century B.C.E. All his life he taught that "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao"; but, according to ancient legend, as he was riding off into the desert to die - sick at heart at the ways of men - he was persuaded by a gatekeeper in northwestern China to write down his teaching for posterity.

The essence of Taoism is contained in the eighty-one chapters of the Tao Te Ching - roughly 5,000 words - which have for 2,500 years provided one of the major underlying influences in Chinese thought and culture, emerging also in proverbs and folklore. Whereas Confucianism is concerned with day-to-day rules of conduct, Taoism is concerns with a more spiritual level of being.

 

Source: The Tao Te Ching

 

Taoism - Tao means "way" - indicating a way of thought or life; spiritual in nature.

  • 6th century B.C.E. - philosopher Lao-tzu is believed to have started the practice and study of Taoism
  • The Tao is considered unnamed and unknowable, the essential unifying element of all that is
  • Everything is part of a whole
  • Yin (the female element)/ Yang (the male element)
  • Lao-tzu is believed to be the author of the Tao-te-Ching (Classic of the Way of Power) 
  • Wu Wei="non-doing." Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of oneself as connected to others and to one's environment

 

ONE

 

The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The name is the mother of the ten thousand things.

Send your desires away and you will see the mystery.
Be filled with desire and you will see only the manifestation.

As these two come forth they differ in name.
Yet at their source they are the same.
This source is called a mystery.

Darkness within darkness, the gateway to all mystery.

Analysis of the Poem:    ANNA

 

 

     The theme statement for the chapter titled One, written by Lao Tsu is, the desire to know is better left unknown. The first example that supports this statement is “Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.” This line follows the theme statement because the desireless know there is a mystery, but they do not want to know what it is. Maybe they fear that if they know the mystery, they will be disappointed and lose their desire for knowledge. Another example would be, “Darkness within darkness. The gate to all mystery.” The darkness in this line represents the not knowing. If darkness were to be dispelled, it would take away the mystery.  What Lao Tsu was possibly trying to convey to his readers was that life’s mysteries are often best left as mysteries.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  GRACE

 

    I read the poem "One" by Lao-tzu and I came to conclude that the theme of the poem was coming to the understanding of unity.  Throughout the poem, it states the importance of unity and how things change if the unity is not understood.  "The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth" in line three shows that when the unity is understood, all is well; it is the very beginning of things.  The poem states also in the following line that it "...is the mother of ten thousand things".  However, the poem explains that if the unity is not understood, the differences that are found between them will lead to misery.  "These two springs from the same source but differ in name; this appears as darkness" shows that the unity should be understood as one, not two.  Also, it explains that if the differences are found, it is the "darkness within darkness".  The poem clearly states that the theme of unity should be understood to be accepted, not to be separated; if it is separated, it will lead to a dark path.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  AARON M.

     The poem that i read was "One", by Lao-tzu. The theme that i found by reading this poem is that truth is better left a mystery. In my poem, there is a line that states, "Ever desireless, one can see the mystery." This line means that if one does not desire the answer or truth to something, they will be able to find it or see it. There is also another line that reads, "Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations." This line means that if one searches for the meaning to something and intends on finding the truth, it will be hidden from them and they will not be able to find it. This interpretation of this poem shows that truth is something that people search for and if one does not go searching for the truth, it will show up on your doorstep or right in front of your eyes. Therefore, the truth should be left a mystery that should find you, rather than you finding the truth.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  ELI W.

     

            The poem that I read was entitled “One”.  The theme of my poem is that life always comes with death and humans will never truly understand how these two things work.  In my poem, there is a line that reads, “These two spring from the same source but differ in name”, which means that life and death are connected and come from the same source.  It is impossible to have life without death, just as it impossible to have death without life.  In a way, each is used to compliment the other because one cannot stand alone.  Another example of this theme is in the two lines, “Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.  Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.” The first sentence means that nobody wants death because no one truly knows what death is and they are therefore afraid of it.  The following sentence means that everyone wants life, because it is apparent in everyone’s life.

 

 

 

TWO

 

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

 

Therefore having and not having arise together.

Difficult and easy complement each other.

Long and short contrast each other;

High and low rest upon each other;

Voice and soun harmonize each other;

Front and back follow one another.

 

Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.

The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease,

Creating, yet not possessing.

Working, yet not taking credit.

Work is done, then forgotten.

Therefore it lasts forever.

Analysis of the Poem:     CLAIRE

 

 

                When reading the poem two one must understand the concept of balance and existence when reading. There is message that is trying to be portrayed involving balance and existence between two ideas or objects. Without an opposite the her idea or object can not stand for anything and it loses its meaning.  This idea shown throughout the poem. In the fist line of the fist stanza it explains the idea  “all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.” This part of the poem is stating that one can only see beauty if there is ugliness and without ugliness there is no beauty. In the second stanza it explains how opposites balance each other out and that they cannot exist without each other. “Difficult and easy complement each other, Long and short contrast each other, High and low rest upon each other,” this is the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines of the second stanza and it highlights the ideas of balance. That without their opposite one cannot be defined and can have its qualities exists. Opposites contradict each other while complimenting each other and they both depend on each other. In the third stanza it further explains that if the characteristic remains by itself it loses itself. “Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing teaching no talking,” this explains that the teacher doesn’t stand for anything without the student. They can’t teach without someone there to learn. The main purpose that the author is trying to get across is that if something doesn’t have its opposite they can’t stand for anything.

Analysis of the Poem:  CARA

      A possible theme that could be derived from Lao Tsu's poem "Two" is that everything is interconnected, and that drastic opposites have the most direct connection. This can be seen in the first line of the poem, "Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness." Tsu is trying to explain the dichotomous nature of all things, and how those things balance each other out in order to create one another. Humans would not know what beauty is unless they had ugliness to compare it to; therefore one cannot exist without the other. The third stanza of the poem also mentions the interconnectedness of all things, further explaining the idea. The last two lines of the poem are: "Work is done, then forgotten. Therefore it lasts forever." Nothing can ever truly cease to exist because everything is connected to everything else.  Things that have been done and forgotten only serve to promote the memory of things that have been done and not forgotten. Much like beauty and ugliness, one cannot exist without the other. Certain things are only forgotten so that others may be remembered. In this way, everything is eternal.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

EXAMPLE OF WELL ORGANIZED PARAGRAPH THAT CLEARLY ROOTS INFERENCES AND INTERPRETATIONS IN THE TEXT

Analysis of the Poem:  ELI P.

     This poem emphasizes that one’s life must contain opposites in order to have any meaning.  The first two lines state, “…All can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.  All can know good as good only because there is evil.”  If there was no ugliness in the world, there would be nothing for people to compare beauty with and nothing could be beautiful.  The second line reinforces this, saying that one must witness evil to recognize goodness, and vice versa.  The next stanza of the poem further exemplifies this point.  In fact the first line is, “Therefore having and not having arise together.”  Things in life must have opposites.  The third stanza is more confusing.  The fist line states, “Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking.”  This is a reference to the author, Lao Tsu, who believed that the Tao could not be taught.  The “ten thousand things” that rise and fall are the pairs of opposites, switching places in our lives in contrast of each other.  The four lines are the most confusing, containing what seem to be paradoxes that can be understood through examples.  Evil creates good, yet evil possesses no goodness.  Ugliness is given no credit for the beauty in the world.  The forgetting of the work of such contrasts means that there is no fluctuation in which opposite is dominant in our lives.  When factors do not change, there is nothing to contrast them against.  Their work is forgotten, but they last forever.  The seemingly simple concept of contrast adding meaning is developed in those last two lines to be much more complicated.

 

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  LAURA T.

     Type your analysis here.  Make sure to review the grading criteria above before beginning.  Make sure that your thesis is original and not already stated by previous students.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  AUSTIN H.

     The basic concept behind Lao Tsu's poem "Two" is the idea that in order to reach a level of enlightenment one should always try to maintain a balance in life and mind. This theme is evidenced by lines three to five.  Line five states, "Long and short contrast each other", if you really think about that you can not help to sense the belief of karma. The mentality that all things have a cause and effect. By understanding that ideal one can beging to move towards the path into true enlightenment. If you believe in that then it can be said that his poem has a hindu background.

 

 

 

SEVENTY-EIGHT

 

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.

Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;

It has no equal.

The weak can overcome the strong;

The supple can overcome the stiff.

Under heaven everyone knows this,

Yet no one puts it into practice.

Therefore the sage says:

He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them.

He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe.

The truth often sounds paradoxical.

 

 

 

Analysis of the Poem:     JAKE

 

 

     This poem is stating how what can seem, in some circumstances, to be the most protective, comforting thing, also be the thing best to destroy.  This is stated in these lines "...Nothing is more soft and yielding than water.  Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better..."  But besides the interpretation of water's power, I would take issue with the rest of the piece, specifically the lines "He who takes upon himself the country's disasters deserves to be king of the universe."  It could be argued that George Bush took upon himself the country's disasters with 9/11 and Katrina, but it is also fairly obvious that he does not deserve to be king of the universe.  This poem deals with many very broad generalizations that, when taken individually, can work in some circumstances, but when taken as a whole, there are many circumstances that fit outside the statements of the piece.

Analysis of the Poem:  CATIE

 

   A Possible theme for the poem could be that the underdog would be the best person to rule the populous. A line from the popoem that really sticks out to the back this up is, "He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them. This explains that a person with a strong understanding of the morals of society, which most often is the underdog, is fit to rule. This thought is also supported by the following of the previously stated line, "He who takes upon himself the county's disasters deserves to be king..."

 

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  HOPE

     The theme of this poem is a philosophical and thought-provoking. It is, in short, those who are gentle, relaxed, and soft can overcome all obstacles even the toughest. The author is discussing how earthly beings, or human beings, all have the innate knowledge that if they remain at ease, they will be able to have victory over those who are uptight and focused only on strength. The first line of the poem states that water is the softest substance, but in the second line, the poem insists that even though water is the softest substance, it is also the best for defeating the strong and solid. This relates to the fact that those who have the ability to "go with the flow," like water flows, will be able to overcome those who do not. This is further indicated in the fourth and fifth lines of the poem when the author states, "The weak can overcome the strong" and "The supple can overcome the stiff." More evidence to support the theme is found in the ninth and tenth lines of the poem from "He who take upon himself the humiliation..." to "...deserves to be king of the universe." In other words, those who are most responsible are most capable to lead others, but to be most responsible, one must be supple, or relaxed, and weak, or rather, gentle like water. Chemically, this makes sense as well. Water is a universal solvent. Water can dissolve any solid given enough time; therefore, the line "Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better," is true both in philosophy and science.

2nd SEMESTER ANALYSIS:

 

Analysis of the Poem:  NORA

     A theme for this poem could be that one who is equal can have control, but equality can never be fully reached. When the poem says "He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them" that is saying that the person who can be equal with his people is the person who is right to rule them, but at the end of the poem it says "The truth often sounds paradoxical" which can be implying that even though someone who is equal should rule his people, no one is ever actually completely equal.

 

Return to Assignments Page

Comments (4)

msward said

at 12:01 pm on Jan 7, 2010

So far the responses have been fairly good. You are rooting your responses in the lines of the poem. However, make sure that you write using an academic tone. This means, no personal pronouns (no - I, me, my, mine, us, etc.) and no contractions.

sondrag said

at 10:56 pm on Jan 7, 2010

Caroline, i like your analysis, but also the word choices you used such as "raw". Other than what Ms. Ward already wrote on it, I like it very much.

Cara Joyce said

at 11:05 pm on Jan 7, 2010

Claire, I like your analysis of "Two." I particularlly liked how you explained the part about the sage being meaningless without a student; I honestly hadn't thought of that. I was thinking that the line about the sage "doing nothing, teaching no-talking," was a comment on Taoism, and how even the wisest people cannot fully grasp the concept of things that are bigger than themselves. But that didn't really go with the theme of the poem, so I was kind of confused...I think your right though. Nice job :)

juliad said

at 12:19 am on Jan 8, 2010

Caroline, I especially liked the fact that you incorporated aspects of Hindu beliefs in your analysis. It helped me understand what the author was trying to say in the poem and what certain things meant. I also liked your own ideas about what the author meant when he wrote about the dark, mysterious girl, who, possibly, was a force of balance in the world of the village. It is interesting to think that a presence of darkness to some is really the thing that is keeping light in their lives, without them realizing it. I agree with everything you said, good job!

You don't have permission to comment on this page.