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How would you consider approaching "the sense of place" in "Bright Star! Would I Were...

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cbabiarczyk | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM via web

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How would you consider approaching "the sense of place" in "Bright Star! Would I Were as Steadfast as Thou Art"? 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:05 AM (Answer #1)

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Key to exploring the sense of place in this poem is recognising the way in which this poem describes both the "Bright Star" of the title and also the world that it overlooks. The sense of place therefore seems to be focused on the description of the natural world that is given to us as the poem progresses. Note how this description paints a beautiful image of the "moving waters" of the earth that the star keeps watch over. The sense of place can be seen here to further the role of the star, as reference to the word "ablution" makes clear. The star almost has the role of purification and a "priestlike task" in the world it surveys. The images of snow likewise support this description. The snow is described as "the new soft-fallen mask," again focusing on the spiritual transformation and renewal that nature can provide us with.

Place therefore is exceedingly important in exploring the way in which nature is presented as being linked to the spiritual in the worldview of Keats. The carefully selected images of nature help to explore the ways in which nature cleanses us and renews us and makes it possible for us to attain a mystical connection with it.

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