Anna Laetitia Barbauld

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Write a response paper comparing the following poems to a similar poem written by a canonical male poet: “Washing Day,” “The Sea View,” and “Corinne at the Capitol.”

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“Washing Day” by Anna Laetitia Barbauld begins with a call upon the Muses, as many high epic poems do, yet here the poet domesticates the Muses, saying that they “are turned gossips” and prattle in “slip-shod measure” about the things of daily life, including the “dreaded washing day.” You might...

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“Washing Day” by Anna Laetitia Barbauld begins with a call upon the Muses, as many high epic poems do, yet here the poet domesticates the Muses, saying that they “are turned gossips” and prattle in “slip-shod measure” about the things of daily life, including the “dreaded washing day.” You might compare this poem to Alexander Pope's mock epic The Rape of the Lock, for Barbauld, too, uses epic language and themes to describe a commonplace event. She, however, goes even further than Pope, for he mocks the upper-class silliness of his day, while Barbauld makes washing day into an epic event.

“The Sea View” by Charlotte Smith is a sonnet that opens on a pastoral note but soon turns into a meditation on the horrors of naval warfare. You might compare this poem with other pastoral poems, like Christopher Marlowe's “A Passionate Shepherd to His Love” or John Milton's longer poem Lycidas, but you could also compare it with other sonnets, including those by Shakespeare or Sidney.

Finally “Corinne at the Capitol” by Felicia Hemans is all about patriotism and poetic inspiration. You might look at parts of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself for comparison, for Whitman's inspired tone sometimes matches that of Hemans, and he speaks much about what inspires him to write poetry.

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