English Literature 12

a virtual palimpsest

Ango’s class notes on Byron’s “Apostrophe to the Ocean”

March 29, 2006 by Mr. N · No Comments · class notes, Romantic

Thanks, Ango for taking these notes. She did them in many colours, which was really cool, but it doesn’t show up on the blog. Sorry.
(A stanza by stanza summary- one done by each of you!)
Apostrophe to the Ocean–George Gordon, by Lord Byron
1. Something special about going where there aren’t any people; solitude, being in nature; ocean makes music with its waves. When he is experiencing this, he discovers something about himself (steals from what he is); becomes simpler, and in doing so, becomes part of something larger (finds his place in this universe). Something he can never express but can’t help to show his feelings for it: sublime!
2. Man can take over the earth, but they can’t take over the sea. By taking over the earth, it becomes ruined. Sea is very powerful, many ships have sunk to the bottom.
3. Gives the sea credit for its power. On the open ocean, people are pretty much lost–it is powerful and unpredictable.
4. The ocean can destroy everything we value–cities, rulers, etc are subject to its ‘power’.
5. Compares ocean and shores to different empires. This has had a negative effect on the world. The ocean is pretty much changeless over time.
6. Talks about different kinds of weather and how the ocean is a mirror–a glorious one– mirrors storms & the Almighty: can be calm or convulsed, cold or hot. Ocean obeys God (the Almighty).
7. When a child–he played in the ocean. When it was stormy, he still loved it (enjoyed being afraid of it). A big delight to him then & now. Like a parent.

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