Mixing Keats and Yeats

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"Yeats's poem is not explicitly 'about; rhetorical questions but about images or metaphors, and about the possibility of convergence between experiences of consciousness such as memory or emotions-what the poem calls passion, piety and affection-and entities accessible to the senses such as bodies, persons or icons." (de Man 369).

When I read this quote, it kind of had me thinking a little about Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn". I remember at the beginning semester when Dr. Jerz had this poem displayed on the projector screen and then asked me about the questions, such as who was speaking them, who were they being spoken to, and what were they asking. I remember I couldn't answer any of them, and later I found out no one technically had the "right" answer to those questions. However, after reading this passage from de Man, it helps to make more sense of why those questions in both Yeat's poem and Keats's poem weren't necessary the main focus, but rather the images or metaphors they created that affected how the rest of the poem was interpreted. When I first read Keats's poem, the questions he poses in them were a little distracting at first, especially when Dr. Jerz asked some more questions about them that couldn't necessarily have a solid answer. Using what de Man points out, I think the questions become less distracting and I can see how they over all fit into the poem.



Bethany Merryman said:

I agree with you, that with the information de Man teaches us, we are able to see these questions in a different light that not only become less distracting, as you say, but a weight lifted off our shoulders. I mean, hey, sometimes the author doesn't know the answer--so it must be okay if we don't!

I think this tool as a metaphor is very useful in literary and as long as we are able to identify the differences between questions and rhetorical questions we wouldn't be afraid when we come across these pesky things in readings.

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