I need help writing a reader response on the dominant emotion in "Ode to the West Wind".

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing that you might want to do is read through the poem itself and jot down some different emotions that Shelley expresses in each stanza.  Then, when you are finished, look over what you wrote, and see if there are any repeated emotions.  If so, score!  Use one of those repeat emotions to focus on for your reader response.  Then, in each stanza, try to find one or two words or phrases where that emotion is evident.  Quote those words, and make the connection to the emotion, and that should do it for you.

For example, if you wanted to use the emotion reverence (Shelley expresses reverence for-or awe of-the west wind), in stanza one, "unseen presence" ties the wind to a higher being that we can't see, and we usually revere those beings.  He also capitalizes "West Wind"; when capitalizing, you are indicating its importance, or showing reverence for it.  In stanza two Shelley says that the wind "chariotest" people to their beds; a chariot is a fancy form of travel often connected to Greek or Roman gods; another symbol of reverence is expressed (he didn't say the wind walks them to bed, or drives them in a cab, he "chariotest"--it's significant).

And, onward throughout the rest of the stanzas (limited space prohibits me from continuing).  I hope that helps give you ideas to get started.  Good luck!

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Ode to the West Wind

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