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How is the poem using language to construct its meaning?. She used to let her golden hair fly free. For the wind to toy and tangle and molest; Her eyes were brighter than the radiant west. (Seldom they shine so now.) I used to see Pity look out of those deep eyes on me.

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how is the poem using language to construct its meaning
How is the poem using language to construct its meaning?

She used to let her golden hair fly free.

For the wind to toy and tangle and molest;

Her eyes were brighter than the radiant west.

(Seldom they shine so now.) I used to see

Pity look out of those deep eyes on me.

(“It was false pity,” you would now protest.)

I had love’s tinder heaped within my breast;

What wonder that the flame burnt furiously?

She did not walk in any mortal way,

But with angelic progress; when she spoke,

Unearthly voices sang in unison.

She seemed divine among the dreary folk

Of earth. You say she is not so today?

Well, though the bow’s unbent, the wound bleeds on.

formalism analyzing metaphor

Formalism: Analyzing Metaphor

Learning how to assess a literary strategy

language and meaning
Language and Meaning
  • Keeping in line with our focus on language and meaning, I present you with this set of nested questions:

How do we interpret metaphors?

How EXACTLY does a metaphor construct meaning? How does a metaphor work? What specific KINDS of meaning does it produce? Is there a difference in the way that the authors we have USED metaphor?

some theories of metaphor
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • Metaphor as SUBSTITUTION:
    • Metaphor is simply an artistic or decorative flourish
    • There is nothing said through metaphor that could not be more effectively communicated through more literal statements
    • Thus, there is no room for metaphor in “serious writing.”
      • Russ McDonald: “…generally speaking, the twentieth century takes a very different attitude toward verbal expression than did the sixteenth. Modes of dramatic or poetic speech that appealed to the Renaissance taste for abundance and decoration may strike us as inflated, elaborate, or excessively ornamented” (42).

Shakespeare SHOULD have just said: “Hey my girlfriend is pretty, but not that pretty, but I love her anyways” because it says exactly the same thing and is more clear.

some theories of metaphor1
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • Metaphor as Cognitive Device:
    • Metaphoric language is not just a less clear/more ornate version of regular language.
    • Reveals aspects of its subject (or issues surrounding the subject) which could not be otherwise communicated
    • Helps to structure our understanding.

Shakespeare’s use of metaphor is crucial to the specific meaning he is trying to communicate.

some theories of metaphor2
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • COMPARISON:
    • Metaphor transforms the meaning of the statement, the reader’s goal is to change it back to understand the original meaning.
    • Intended meaning = m

Metaphor = f(m)

Interpreting metaphor = f (f(m)) = m

    • Making meaning of metaphor is like breaking a code. Breaking the code not only reveals the message, it lays bare the logic of the code itself.

-1

some theories of metaphor3
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • INTERACTION:
    • Both the “primary object” and the “subsidiary object” come with a series of commonplace associations (ex: “Man is a wolf”)
      • Wolves are furry and grey, hunt in packs, bloodthirsty and carnivorous, but social
    • When metaphor is used, the commonplaces of the subsidiary object are applied to the primary object (this requires judgment)
      • It makes sense to say that humans are bloodthirsty, or violent. “Man is a wolf” means, roughly, that humans are ruthless, violent killers
      • It DOESN’T make sense to say that man is “furry and grey”
some theories of metaphor4
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • More INTERACTION:
    • Allows for “commonplaces” to change over time and perspective. For a naturalist, “Man is a wolf” could mean that humans are friendly, social beings
    • In this view, metaphors highlight certain meanings (man=violent), but it also obscures others (man=nurturing)
    • In this theory, metaphor affects the meaning of BOTH the primary and subsidiary object. Man looks more like a wolf, but the wolf is made to seem more human as well.
some theories of metaphor5
Some Theories of Metaphor
  • These theories give you a vocabulary for talking about HOW METAPHOR WORKS, as well as the TYPE OF MEANING it generates.
    • Our goal is to turn this theory into a reading practice. Make it into questions!
    • What is the primary and subsidiary object?
    • What commonplaces of each are being evoked? How are they being applied?
    • What meanings are being emphasized? Which are being obscured (and why does this matter)?
    • How are the meanings of both objects altered by their interaction?
    • Is the meaning generated by the metaphor best described or captured by these theories?
how is the poem using language to construct its meaning1
How is the poem using language to construct its meaning?

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,

Coral is far more red than her lips red,

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun:

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head:

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks,

And in some perfumes is there more delight,

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet by heaven I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare.

how is the poem using language to construct its meaning2
How is the poem using language to construct its meaning?

She used to let her golden hair fly free.

For the wind to toy and tangle and molest;

Her eyes were brighter than the radiant west.

(Seldom they shine so now.) I used to see

Pity look out of those deep eyes on me.

(“It was false pity,” you would now protest.)

I had love’s tinder heaped within my breast;

What wonder that the flame burnt furiously?

She did not walk in any mortal way,

But with angelic progress; when she spoke,

Unearthly voices sang in unison.

She seemed divine among the dreary folk

Of earth. You say she is not so today?

Well, though the bow’s unbent, the wound bleeds on.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,

Coral is far more red than her lips red,

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun:

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head:

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks,

And in some perfumes is there more delight,

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet by heaven I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare.

slide12

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,

Whilst some of their sad friends do say,

"The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"

So let us melt, and make no noise,

No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

'Twere profanation of our joys

To tell the laity our love.

slide13

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,

Men reckon what it did and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

slide14

But we, by a love so much refined

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion.

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

slide15

If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two:

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

To move, but doth, if the other do;

And though it in the center sit,

Yet when the other far doth roam,

It leans, and hearkens after it,

And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,

Like the other foot, obliquely run;

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.

slide16

The tightness and the nilness round that spacewhen the car stops in the road, the troops inspectits make and number and, as one bends his facetowards your window, you catch sight of moreon a hill beyond, eyeing with intentdown cradled guns that hold you under coverand everything is pure interrogationuntil a rifle motions and you movewith guarded unconcerned acceleration--a little emptier, a little spentas always by that quiver in the self,subjugated, yes, and obedient.

slide17

So you drive on to the frontier of writingwhere it happens again. The guns on tripods;the sergeant with his on-off mike repeatingdata about you, waiting for the squawkof clearance; the marksman training downout of the sun upon you like a hawk.And suddenly you're through, arraigned yet freed,as if you'd passed from behind a waterfallon the black current of a tarmac roadpast armor-plated vehicles, out betweenthe posted soldiers flowing and recedinglike tree shadows into the polished windscreen.

slide18

Whirl up, sea—

whirl your pointed pines,

splash your great pines

on our rocks,

hurl your green over us,

cover us with your pools of fir.