In writing an essay on John Donne's "Holy Sonnet XIV," what would be a good thesis statement?In writing an essay on John Donne's "Holy Sonnet XIV," what would be a good thesis statement?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A good way to generate ideas for any writing about a literary text is to compare and contrast that text with another text. This process almost guarantees that your work will be detailed and focused.  A good poem to compare and contrast with sonnet 14 is sonnet 10, the one that begins "Death, be not proud." In comparing and contrasting the two poems, you might want to ask yourself such questions as the following:

* How do the tones of the speakers differ in each poem?

* Who seems powerful in each poem?  Who seems weak?

* How does the characterization of God in 14 differ from the characterization of Death in 10?

* Are there any similarities in the imagery and phrasing used, as in the shared reference to being overthrown?

* In which poem does the speaker seem more isolated?

* What are some resemblances between Death and Satan? How are they presented differently?

* How do these two poems present fundamentally different ways of understanding life?

One you sit down and begin looking at the poems side-by-side, many more ideas should occur to you.  Good luck!

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Are you feeling a bit controversial?  How about this one:  In his "Holy Sonnet 14," John Donne uses sexual imagery to portray his seduction by both heaven and hell.  Obviously, it's hard to ignore the terms that Donne uses that are unbelievably sexual.  All you need do is look at the verbs Donne uses throughout his sonnet some of which are as follows:  "breathe," "rise," "stand," "o'erthow," "bend," "force, to break, blow, burn," "betrothed," "divorce," "take me to You," "imprison," "enthral," and "ravish."  Come ON.  Who doesn't love Donne's sexual frustration!?!

jojoonfire | Student

I am writing a critical essay on John Donne's "Holy Sonnet XIV", Can someone give me some key points on what to write on?

sparrow17 | Student

You can have a dozen of options; for instance, you can tacle

1- the metaphysicality of the poem

2- experimentations on form and subject matter

3- the language of paradox, wit and argument 

Read the study guide:
John Donne's Holy Sonnets

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