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Explain the poem "The Village Schoolmaster" in full details.

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kharsa | Student | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted March 31, 2010 at 1:11 AM via web

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Explain the poem "The Village Schoolmaster" in full details.

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mstokes | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 2, 2010 at 3:51 AM (Answer #1)

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The village Goldsmith is writing about is called "Auburn": it is not  real, but  an imaginary ideal one, possibly one of the villages he had observed as a child and a young man in Ireland and England. Goldsmith, the poet, returns to the village that he knew as vibrant and alive, and finds it deserted and overgrown

The setting of the particular passage is described in the first three lines. Then Goldsmith discusses the character of the schoolmaster himself.  In his appearance, he is very severe and stern.  The reader would suppose him humourless, except that he likes to tell jokes.  When Goldsmith says "the boding tremblers learn'd to trace/The days disasters in his morning face," the reader comes to understand that the schoolmaster does not mince his words. In the last two lines, he indicates that the schoolmaster was no more.  All of his fame has gone and the schoolhouse, nce vibrant is no longer in use.

The schoolmaster was a big presence in the village. In an age when literacy and numeracy were powerful the people of the village, looked up to him. He seems a kind of god. The children are fearful of him. They laugh at his jokes, even if they are not funny. “Full well “(9-10)

The adults are equally impressed with the way he can survey fields ("lands he could measure", 17) and work out boundaries or the times of holy-days like Easter. He can even do more complex calculations ("gauge", 18). This is all ironic: the school-teacher appears knowledgeable to the "gazing rustics" (22).

The poem's jokes are gentle. The tone of the poem is balanced  and gentleness and humour imply a frame of mind that Goldsmith sees as important, as having a moral value in itself.




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