In this essay I will try to explain how John Keats writes the ode ‘To Autumn’. This means I will analyse the poem, and to the extent of my knowledge pick out the poetic techniques Keats uses. These will include, personification, the use of imagery, diction, rhythm, appeals to senses, similes, metaphors etc. To begin with he personifies the whole poem as if he where talking to the actually inanimate Autumn. Through the whole poem it is as if he was talking to Autumn, or maybe even Autumn is being meant as Mother Nature.
An example of this is line 2, ‘Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun. ‘ This I believe means that Autumn is in cooperation with the life giving sun to ripen the crops. Also he compares Autumn and Spring through personification by saying, ‘Where are the songs of Spring,’ and, ‘thou hast thy music too. ‘ Both these seasons have been personified which shows that maybe Autumn is not Mother Nature, but that each season is a different person with a different personality.
As an example this could mean that Summer may be uncomfortable climatically, whereas Autumn may have a great climate. The impression that Keats gives to me of Autumn is that he, she or it is careless and lazy, ‘on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,’ intoxicated, ‘Drows’d with the fume of poppies,’ and finally, tranquil: “Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours” Next I will explain how Keats uses diction in the poem.
Keats has decided to use iambic pentameter, but at the same time use trochee or inverted iambs such as in line 1 when he writes, ‘Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,’ stressing the ‘Sea’ when the pattern would usually have the stress after the non stress, and then repeat the pattern. Also he sometimes uses enjambment in the poem to speed up the pace that the reader reads it at. An example of this is, “To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,”
The enjambment is actually just one of the ways in which he makes the poem read in a specific way. He also changes words to make it sound different, he may use an accent over some of the vowels to make the word pronounced with 2 syllables such as, ‘barri?? d,’ and, ‘twini?? d. ‘ He may also use an apostrophe to fill the place of vowels to slim down the amount of syllables such as, ‘o’erbrimm’d. ‘ He might even use a dash in between words such as, ‘bosom-friend,’ to speed up the pace of the rhythm as all these techniques try to do.
He also uses alliteration such as, ‘winnowing wind,’ which ;ets the poem flow much better and a fixed rhyme scheme of A,B,C,D,E,D,C,C,E. All these techniques, as well as most of them speeding up the pace of the rhythm or trying to make the lines fit the iambic pentameter, make the rhythm read more flowingly and softly which is very important in an ode to create a more effective poem for the reader. The poem has also got many places where the senses of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch are used.
Keats uses, ‘mellow fruitfulness,’ ‘fill all fruit with ripeness to the core,’ and, ‘plump the hazel shells,’ for taste. He uses, ‘clammy cells,’ and, ‘touch the stubble-plains,’ for touch. Sight is used a lot in the poem but some of them are, ‘seen thee amid thy store,’ and, ‘full-grown lambs. ‘ Smell isn’t really used much apart from in line 17, ‘fume of poppies. ‘ Now finally, most of the 3rd stanza is sound as Keats has used, ‘songs of Spring,’ ‘lambs bleat,’ Hedge-crickets sing,’ ‘redbreast whistles,’ and, ‘swallows twitter.
‘ All of these senses help you picture the poem as a 3D image in your mind. The favourite of mine being, ‘Drows’d with the fume of poppies,’ as it uses powerful words like, ‘Drows’d,’ and, ‘fume,’ with poppies which I know the distinct smell of, so I can picture myself lying in a pile of poppies, being intoxicated by them whilst smelling the fresh air and looking at the ripe fruits, vast fields and colourful trees.