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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
With this is mind, ‘Autumn’ can be seen as an extended metaphor for Keats’ short life. For example, as aforementioned, Keats depicts early autumn as giving abundance of life. However, a differing interpretation sees this as a poignant portrayal of Keats being in blissful ignorance of his condition. Autumn gives an abundance of ‘flowers for the bees, / until they think warm days will never cease’. This image is one that sets up a false hope – the warm days will inevitably cease. Therefore, it can be argued that Keats is commenting on his own life where his own ‘early days of autumn’ i.e. his youth gave the illusion that his life would never cease. This pathetic notion is furthered in the last line: ‘And gathering swallows twitter in the skies’. In a portrayal of the Romantic trope of a fixation with the transcendence of the soul, as was a frequent theme Keats explored with the image of a bird (Ode to a Nightingale), this could be seen as a metaphor for Keats’ soul leaving his body and him dying. Not only can the poem be seen as a reflection of Keats’ deteriorating state into death, it can also be seen to reflect his tenacious grip on life. He changes the ode form convention by adding an extra line to each stanza, and this not only elevates the reverence for the season, but it can also be seen as Keats seeking to prolong his life.
To conclude, the two poems, whilst on the surface appear as serving simple purposes to either celebrate that which is usually uncelebrated, or to draw attention to mankind severing its relationship with mankind, also portray more powerful and poignant sentiments. They serve as a commentary on the struggles of human life, whether it be finding solace in another type of natural, joyful life, or longing for an extension of life in knowledge of its inevitable end.
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