To Autumn Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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I am studying "To Autumn" along with about 20 other poems for my GCSE exams and I am having a lot of problems with "To Autumn". I understand that the first paragraph is completely imagery and the second two paragraphs are Autumn, but in an essay do I just pick out images and write about them as there seems to be very little storyline? I'd be grateful if anyone could give me some advice! Can anyone help?

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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You are correct that there is very little story line here. Therefore, a more productive way to think about this might be to think of it as a reflection or meditation. Keats doesn't give us a narrator, and so doesn't anchor this in the personal. Instead, he moves us towards the universal. This is summer, we're told early on: it is richness, fruit, production. But after summer comes fall, and that is a time of harvest and beauty, but also reflection and sadness. That's why you look back towards spring. Since this is universal, this happens to people too: the songs of spring that are missing are the songs of childhood. This is a poem about autumn, but also about lost youth and the coming of death (winter).

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