Flashcards in Poem Comparisons Deck (12)
Porphyria’s lover and the farmer’s bride
Both demonstrate males assertions of dominance, ‘only, this time my shoulder bore her head’ (PL) < portrayal of man idolising control over woman to point of madness and murder (she had control at beginning, “made my cheek lie there”. “I chose a maid” suggests he’s in control and so is dominant, she frequently disobeys so has to be locked away, ‘fast’ < society’s extreme reactions to disobedience of male counterpart. He eventually is driven mad by her lack of obedience in that she won’t sleep with him, ‘her hair! Her hair!’ Possession are common themes throughout, ‘give herself to me forever .’ PL
Both have sinister endings in which feminine characteristics are used against themselves, quite literally in PL when killed by own hair. TFB eventually leads to, ‘maid’’s virginity bien taken forcefully (rape).
Neither female has a voice in each, Mew criticises women’s lack of input into how they are portrayed while Browning demonstrates volatile nature of psychopathic narration.
While woman in PL is source of warmth, ‘she shut the cold out.’ And is growing closer to narrator w physical affection and connotations of dedication (still not enough for man). Farmer in TFB feels coldness from bride, ‘like the shut of a winter’s day.’ And lack of affection, while farmer wants children (allowing you to sympathise w him as is normal thing to want).
While TFB is entrapped within marriage and eventually ‘up in the attic there’ in farmhouse acting as extended metaphor of society’s moral boundaries and limitations, particularly for women. PL displays man’s struggle for dominance.
Singh song and the farmer’s bride
Both are arranged marriages, in TFB, ‘three summers since I chose a maid.’
Sonnet 29 and the farmer’s bride
Both refer to lovers as objects of nature, ‘wild vines about a tree’ (s29) < sees lover as figure of support and center of fixation. ‘Chased her, flying like a hare’ < comparison to prey (connotations of weakness and wildness).
Both explore distance and separation from each as both partners lust and want to be near lover. ‘Renew thy presence’ s29 < narrator uses imperative to suggest control and desperation for partner to be close while, ‘but what to me?’ TFB question mark hints at doubts and lack of control in relationship, perhaps even irritation at the distance from one another. ‘But a stair betwixt us’ < narrowing down space between each other.
However, TFB demonstrates unrequited love as bride is actively distancing herself away from farmer, to point of madness, suggestion of rape at end.
Mutual and constant love shown in S29 corresponds with Petrarchan sonnet structure and so rhythm. Contrastingly, TFB experiences Volta at end w turning point of madness and complete breakdown in rhythm and rhyme (reflecting mental state and breakdown of composure).
Both demonstrate lack of control in love, ‘burst, shattered, everywhere!’ S29 refers to breakdown of moral boundaries (bands of greenery that insphere thee) assisted by a spontaneous and passionate love. However exclamatives and breakdown in speech via use of caesuras display hysteria and madness, hinting at sinister motive to otherwise patient farmer.
Singh song and winter swans
SS Constant love demonstrated through chorus and repetition of ‘my bride’, reinforcing love for wife and inability to cope without his ‘priceless baby’. However WS displays damaged relationship growing closer together w Volta at end of poem. Love is as strong? (‘Gulping for breath’WS).
SS shows more passion and physical affection, shown through ‘rowing through putney’ < shows not holding back from one another. WS shows reserved holding back of feelings, inability to contemplate the presence in their relationship which is the ‘lake’.
Both demonstrate modern-day relationships, SS is attracted to westernised form of punjabi w ‘red crew cut’ and ‘tartan sari’ and WS demonstrates modern couple’s ability to work their way through damaged relationships despite overwhelming, ‘waterlogged’ modern stresses. SS narrator always puts her first on top of everything else, shown by lack of care over shop livelihood (‘past half-price window signs’).
SS Constance of love indicates simplicity of love, loves her imperfections (‘effing at my mum’) and makes them positive (‘in all the colours of punjabi’).
WS portrays complex relationship that needs to be actively worked through, ‘icebergs of white feather’ there is much more underneath that needs to be said. Natural imagery aids it.
Love’s philosophy and winter swans
Both demonstrate nature as supporting relationship, ‘moonbeams kiss the sea’ LP < romantic as if all of nature wants them to be a couple, comparisons to everything natural in pairs infers that the speaker feels that they should naturally be together. ‘Until the swans came (...) as if rolling weights’ demonstrate swans as saviours of relationship, causing Volta in atmosphere of poem as begins to fix, weights simile suggests stresses relieved from them by swans beauty.
LP uses nature to simplify romance as something meant to be(as demonstrated w rhyming structure), ‘law divine’ while WS uses nature to emphasise complexity of romance (shown by tercets symbolising complications as another presence in relationship) ‘icebergs of white feather’
Neutral tones and winter swans
Both show damaged relationships via symbolism of nature. ‘Starving sod’ NT shows the loss of life and so warmth in the relationship, coinciding w loss of colour (neutral tones title). Juxtaposition of smile (demonstration of emotion) being the ‘deadest thing’ shows lack of feeling for one another and coldness. ‘Waterlogged earth/ gulping for breath’ WS shows actively trying to fix relationship, is alive enough to fight for the love, in contrast, NT is ‘alive enough to have strength to die’. WS conveys more hope in relationship, Volta at end displays renewal. ‘God-curst sun’ NT displays love as against nature and God, was doomed from beginning.
Links to each’s outlook on love, NT is v bleak ‘keen lessons that love deceives’ shows betrayal felt by lover to point of never being able to love again, expires. WS shows subconscious recoupling as if soulmates, Plato’s theory.
Interestingly, both use non-moving bodies of water to represent stagnancy and halt of relationship. ‘Stood by a pond that winter day’ NT lack of movement shows no energy to try any more, pond is a v small body of water, hinting lack of feeling for each other. In contrast, ‘skirted the lake’ WS are moving on despite dark presence, enjambement used throughout shows flowing nature of relationship even if have had a ‘break’.
Movement onwards in WS as can get over obstacle and move on, shown by change in structure towards end to 2 lines. NT has cyclical structure beginning and ending w pond, conveying replay of memory in head and inability to move on as memory is too painful.
Letters from Yorkshire and winter swans
Progression of nature w love
‘First lapwings return’. ‘And the sunbeams clasp the earth and the moonbeams kiss the sea’
‘The winds of heaven mix forever’
‘Pouring air and light into an envelope’
When we two parted and winter swans
Silence/distance used in both depict lack of communication in damaged relationship. ‘Silence and tears’ WWTP silence associated w loss/death of relationship, as if in mourning. (Literal/metaphorical) Distance corresponds w silence in both poems, ‘silent and apart’ WS. However, there’s speech and communication in WS, ultimately leading to renewal of relationship.
While WWTP shows definitive ending to relationship, ‘to sever for years’ WWTP in which attachment formed is broken off harshly, suggesting it was partner who ended relationship not him. Cyclical structure shows inability to recover from relationship as are replaying memory in head. WS shows hope w introduction of swans accompanying Volta, ‘until the swans came’.
Both display commitment in relationship, ‘‘they mate for life’ you said’ mirrors loyalty needed in relationship in order to move on. ‘Thy vows are all broken’ WWTP all broken suggests relationship is past point of fixing, ‘vows’ show betrayal felt despite affair.
WS is all past tense, showing have moved on while WWTP incorporates past and present tenses into same stanzas, showing ongoing reminders of past and so inability to move on, ‘in secret we met-/ in silence I grieve’ WWTP caesura exaggerates contrast created between pronouns, suggesting he feels left behind in which parter has moved on and he has not.
Eden Rock and Walking Away
Both demonstrate reminiscent tones, ‘her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.’ ER < angelic and celestial imagery of mother untouched by time in prime (‘twenty three’). This effect makes narrator seem younger as is transported back to younger feelings and awe felt as a child to parents. ‘Almost to the day’ WA is v specific and shows vividness of memory as an important moment in relationship, despite seeming an ordinary ‘sunny day’. Stands out among, ‘worse partings’.
WA is from parent perspective, ‘you walking away from me’ shows child unknowingly actively moving away from father, feeling almost sense of loss for child who is now not his responsibility. Takes passive role, knowing that, ‘selfhood begins with a walking away’ must do for greater good of child. ER refers to child perspective, ‘they are waiting for me’ suggests parents were always there for him (reliable figures) but just needed to find them. Untouched by time, waiting casually, time is distorted, relieving stresses had in present.
Both demonstrate close family bonds, ‘same three plates’ conveys his belonging among parents, as if never left, ‘same’ illustrates Constance again. Links to ‘three suns’ (ER) suggests he belongs up in heaven w parents, always looking down on him. ‘Gnaws at my mind still’ (WA) displays replaying of memory (possible regret.)
WA demonstrates new life and risks that come with it, ‘satellite wrenched from its orbit.’
Mother any distance and walking away
Both express fears and hopes for entering ‘wilderness’ WA < fears for son’s full submergence ‘into’ a new environment posing many risks, despite being necessary to gain, ‘selfhood’. MAD proposes, ‘to fall or fly’ using alliteration to thin line between failing/succeeding.
Father takes passive role in WA, ‘I can see/ you walking away from me’. Present tense shows how is reliving moment at ‘gnaws at (his) mind so’. Enjambment prolongs moment to mark its seemingly ordinary importance as child walks off into world. However MAD demonstrates mother’s active role in keeping son w her, ‘fingertips still pinch’ < even w such little control as have by fingertips, is still striving to keep son under ‘spool of tape’ symbolising umbilical chord.
Both mark seemingly ordinary things as important moments in relationship, ‘the small, the scorching’ WA demonstrates how each thing contributes to bigger picture. Task of measuring, ‘windows, pelmets, doors’ MAD < seemingly ordinary, is extended to a metaphor of going out into world while still at home. Verb, ‘spacewalk’ MAD demonstrate great and new feat, while in vast expanse of space, in which there’s many risks and are still tethered to ship. Both use space imagery, ‘satellite wrenched from its orbit’.
Climbing my grandfather and follower
Both idolise family member and look up to them. Shown in CMG within extended metaphor of grandad as v high mountain (literally looking up to him), feel small and vulnerable in comparison, ‘still firm shoulder’