Here are the things we discussed this week over on our Google+ Community.
1. Read this poem from John Donne, The Flea, not found in the book. Based solely on your reading of the poem, answer these questions:
A. Do you think this poem was written during Donne’s earlier period where he wrote clever, sometimes satirical pieces, or his later period where he wrote serious, often religious pieces?B. A metaphysical conceit takes two disparate ideas and combines them into one meaning, using imagery. For example, the conceit in “A Valediction” in our textbook compares two lovers to legs of a compass. What is the metaphysical conceit of this poem?C. Paraphrase The Flea in a few sentences. D. What do we know now about fleas that they didn’t know in the 17th century, that makes the message of this poem sort of ironic? E. What do you think of the fact that a lot of the poems that have been canonized as literature are essentially attempts by the poets to get women to sleep with them?
2. Read John Donne’s sermon, Death's Duel, called his “funeral sermon.” It was delivered by him to a congregation including the King of England, in the Palace of Whitehall, just before his death. How would this piece be different if you removed the occasion of the work and the biographical info about the author, and it was just an essay in a book?
3. After reading Meditation 17, think about a situation in your life where you can apply this idea: Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
4. How do you, personally, respond to the speaker in “To His Coy Mistress.” Is there anything here that you can relate to? Do you find him to be pushy and repugnant? Do you find him to be logical and have a good point? How does this function as a pick-up line? If you’re a girl, would you buy it? If you’re a dude, would you use it?
5. Let’s practice biographical criticism on Ben Jonson. Using the internet and the textbook to learn more about his life, post a detail or fact that would be relevant to the interpretation of his poems.
6. There is a long tradition of writing poems that instruct people on how to live a “good life.” Which two poems, from our examples of Cavalier poetry in the textbook, engage in this work? If you were to write a poem telling people how to live a good life, and giving advice, what would you call it?