Anne Brontë

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What is a critical appreciation of Anne Brontë's poem "Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day"?

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A critical appreciation of a poem should include a brief summary. You might want to approach this from a stanza-by-stanza perspective since this poem is fairly short. The poem opens with the speaker indicating that the wind has lifted her spirits. She feels invigorated by the power of the wind...

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A critical appreciation of a poem should include a brief summary. You might want to approach this from a stanza-by-stanza perspective since this poem is fairly short. The poem opens with the speaker indicating that the wind has lifted her spirits. She feels invigorated by the power of the wind as it "roar[s]" around her. The second stanza describes her setting; it is likely winter, as evidenced by the "bare trees" and "dead leaves." The final stanza provides a glimpse into the speaker's feelings of longing. Although she appreciates the way the wind brings life to the trees in the woods, she wishes that she could also see the ocean transformed by this same energy.

A critical appreciation should also include an examination of the tone, mood, and literary elements which convey a particular meaning in the poem. The second stanza is particularly significant in this discussion. Your critical appreciation could examine how personification is used to demonstrate the way the wind brings life to a scene of death. The bare trees "toss" and the dead leaves "dance" because of the wind's influence. Also notice how images of life and death are juxtaposed in the lines of the second stanza. The grass is both "withered" and "glancing"; the trees are both "bare" and "tossing ... on high." The leaves are both "dead" and "dancing." Also notice the imagery of the final line of the second stanza; the "blue" sky above contrasts with the colors of death which surround the speaker in the woods. Since the sky serves as the source of the wind's origins, the color blue connotes feelings of hope and peace in the midst of decay.

A critical appreciation should also examine the purpose of the poem, which might include ideas about how the author's life or personal experiences influence the poem's meaning or approach. I am attaching a link below that provides some biographical information for Anne Brontë. Can you find any points (prior to the writing of this poem in 1842) where she found herself surround by struggle or hopelessness? How could the idea of finding hope in the midst of bleak surroundings be influenced by the events of her own life?

As you examine this work, be sure that you explain the purpose of the literary choices Bronte makes. It's not enough, for example, to indicate that this poem follows a predictable rhyme pattern. You'll want to explain how that rhyme pattern serves to further the ideas of the poem; you might say, for instance, that the predictable rhyme pattern reinforces the idea that the speaker can depend on the power of nature to "awaken" her "soul."

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