Analysis of Abbey Tomb, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and To Autumn

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Analysis of Abbey Tomb, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and To Autumn

‘By using the first or second person – a poet creates a sense of

direct dialogue with the reader.’ What is your response to this view?

By the use of the first or second person a poet can establish a

connection between the character and the reader because the poet can

address the reader directly. The poems I have chosen to study are

‘Abbey Tomb’ by Patricia Beer, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

by T.S. Elliot and ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats.

Beer’s use of the first person in ‘Abbey Tomb’ creates the sense that

the monk is confiding in the reader. In addition the link between

reader and the Beer’s character is enhanced because the monk is

talking through time, which makes the reader feel involved because the

monk is intrusting the reader with his grievance that has lasted

beyond the grave.

‘I told them not to ring the bells…their tombs look just as right as

mine,’ it could be seen here that the monk is trying to get the final

word to the reader as time has worn away the truth and there is no one

alive who knows he was right. This also implies his frustration that

the other monks did not listen to him because his complain is made

directly to the reader.

With the use of the first person Beer is able to create what resembles

a first hand account of the incident, which is being retold to the

reader. ‘We stood still…staring at the door,’ the monks were waiting

for the Vikings. ‘We heard them passing by…only I could catch the

sound of prowling men…everybody else agreed to ring the bells,’ the

monks then think the Vikings had left and decided to ring the bells;

again we see that the monk is trying to prove he was right by

em...

... middle of paper ...

...logue with the

reader, even though the poem is written in the second person because

is addressed to Autumn, as proclaimed in the title of the poem. Keats

makes no reference to the audience throughout the poem, but

personifies Autumn ‘sitting careless,’ ‘thy hair soft-lifted…’ and ‘by

a cider-press, with patient look, thou watchest.’ Therefore this

demonstrates that a poem can be written in the second person and

contain no sense of a direct dialogue with the reader.

I believe that the statement is too specific; some poems in the first

or second person, like ‘Abbey Tomb,’ are purely expressed to the

reader because the use of ‘I’ can create the sense of a conversation.

On the other hand, in ‘the love song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ and more

directly in ‘To Autumn,’ another character is addressed beside the

reader which weakens the sense of a direct dialogue.
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