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Good morning, my name is Priyanshi Rawat and I will be discussing the poem “To Autumn” by John Keats. The areas that I will be focusing on by the end of my analysis is that how Keats manage to embody complex themes in such an apparently simple poem and comment upon his usage of imagery and language. The poet’s influences were based on the themes of the transience of life, death, love and the cycles of life. The poems he composes are therefore highly emotional and exhibits a tremendous amount of his thoughts and feelings. Similarly to this one John Keats gives a clear and vivid description of the three stages of the seasons: growth, harvest and death. The poem was written during the French Revolution and the same year when his only brother died, where Keats is giving the audience a glimpse of how good days are like and what freedom feels like. I will be analysing the theme and context, tone and mood, audience and purpose and style and structure. 

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As we look forward to the poem, it is properly arranged consisting of three stanzas, each with eleven lines, through which Keats is successfully able to build up several themes such as appearance vs reality, time, mortality. In the entire poem Keats is able to prove to importance and the positive lookout of the season autumn with words such as “mists”, “mellow fruitfulness” and “ripeness”, which is often recognised as gloomy and dark. This represents the theme of appearance vs reality as autumn is portrayed as an insignificant season whereas Keats highlights the importance of it by making it a reason of life existence. This is evident as he refers to “bees” in the first stanza, who generally pollinates during the autumn season and also it reflects upon the cycle of loss and regeneration of the dead leaves and branches on the ground that then disintegrate and turn into part of the soil, resulting in fertilisers which help in plant growth.

Moreover, as this an ode, has helped Keats to emerge his beautiful use of language as an ode can be structured into three sections: strophe, antistrophe and epode. There are plentiful imageries in the fist stanza which successfully represents growth, richness and weight. He uses personification to show the harmonic and strong relationship between the season and “maturing sun”. The word “conspiring” is used which holds negative connotations yet Autumn and the Sun intend to ‘load and bless’ which signifies the image of weight inside the “fruit with ripeness”. Also “conspiring” implies it is a secretive process beyond mere mans control. Autumn is presents as a strong reproductive force and Keats uses words such as “bless”, “load”and “swell” to emphasise the action of the season. This is like to neglect the general belief that autumn is a time of dying as the leaves turn brown and winter is prepared for. Keats wants his audience to appreciate the other aspects of the Autumn. This image highlights fullness and extent of the produce.


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