To Autumn Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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What does "To Autumn" mean in terms of the assertion that it is about human nature and what tools can be used to unravel the theme? Please give concrete evidence and details.  I'm having a problem in finding this focus and the theme.  I'm trying to develop a thesis with these questions in mind.  I'm also trying to use imagery and figures of speech to back up an assertion about human nature.  There are so many interpertations that can be seen in this poem that I'm having trouble in finding that one assertion.

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In his ode, "To Autumn," John Keats personifies the season of Autumn, who is given the attributes of a woman.  This woman of Autumn is united with the

Close bosom-friends of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run

After this union with the sun, Autumn bears fruit and harvests her grain with her "hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind." The life cycle is depicted as Autumn harvests the grain and presses the fruit, and afterwards, heralding the coming of winter, or death as the natural completion of the processes described in the other stanzas.  Death is not to be shunned, but accepted as "gathering swallows twitter in the skies."

Just as the season of Autumn sees the fruit ripen and the grain harvested, so humans life their lives to fruition.  Death, then, is the conclusion to this natural process of humans just as it is for the seasons.


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