Analysis of the Ode "To Autumn" by John Keats
The aim of this work is to analyse the ode of John Keats “To Autumn”. The name of John Keats (1795-1821) is associated with the English Romanticism, the period of the beginning of “modern” thinking about nature, spirituality and philosophy. During this period poets began to challenge traditional views of rationality, religion and human interaction with the world around us.
The analysis describes the theme of the ode, its structure and style, but before I start analysing I would like to mention the basic aims of Romanticism: a return to nature and to belief in the goodness of humanity; the rediscovery of the artist as a supremely individual creator; the development of nationalistic pride and the exaltation of the senses and emotions over reason and intellect.
The speaker opens his first stanza by addressing Autumn, describing its abundance: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!”(2:98) The “maturing sun” causes fruits to ripen and the late flowers to bloom:
“Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees.
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core…” (2:98)
Here, the autumn is endowed with a distinct personality through words and images that portray her behaviour. Personification and metaphors are applied in the ode: in the second stanza, the speaker describes the figure of Autumn as a female goddess, often seen sitting on the granary floor, her hair "soft-lifted" by the wind:
“Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind…”(2:98)
She is often seen sleeping in the fields or watching a cider-press squeezing the juice from apples.
In the third stanza, the speaker tells Autumn not to wonder where the songs of spring have gone, but instead to listen to her own music:
“Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too…” (2:98)