Read again ‘To Autumn’ by Keats. This poem makes a strong appeal to our senses. Compare this poem with one other poem which also makes a strong appeal to the reader. You should refer closely to the language used in both poems. In the poems ‘To Autumn’, a lyrical portrayal of the season itself and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, a literary ballad featuring a despairing knight in a fairytale plot, by one of the well known Romantics, John Keats, a strong appeal is given across to the reader. In both of them, a lot of sensuous detail can be seen to help make the ‘story’ of the poems interesting for the reader.Order now
The theme of nature is used to help appeal to the reader in both poems. In ‘To Autumn’, for example, ”And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;/To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells/With a sweet kernel’ portrays the sense that Autumn is seen a season of ripeness, calm and beauty by the poet. In addition the long vowel sounds in ‘To Autumn’ make it melodic as the words flow quite slowly and smoothly. and Then in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ the nature is used as pathetic fallacy; ‘The sedge is wither’d from the lake,/ And no birds sing.
‘ reflects how the knight-at-arms feels inside as even nature is dying and gone away like the ‘alone and palely loitering’ knight has as he finds himself under the power of ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’. Furthermore, unlike ‘To Autumn’ the poem’s stanzas are of the four-line ballad form. However like other last lines of stanzas in the poem, ‘And no birds sing. ‘ is emphasised as it is shortened to convey a sense of something withheld or absent. Another similar technique featured in both of these poems is the use of interactive devices; such as rhetorical questions.
‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ is opened with a question towards the knight-at-arms asking what pains him. This makes the poem a dialogue as it helps create conversation. Whereas in ‘To Autumn’, the question of ‘Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? ‘ is being asked to the inanimate season of Autumn thus personifying it with this rhetorical device and with references to Autumn using personal pronouns such as ‘thee’ and ‘thy’. Keats has used such rhetorical devices in order to make the poems interactive, therefore helping build a strong appeal to the reader.
In ‘To Autumn’ no repetition is seen as there is movement of idea. Autumn doesn’t last forever so after exploring the warm, comforting ripeness of the season the poem goes on explain Autumn moves on and passes away because it is also a season of preparation for the Winter by using words such as ‘soft-dying day’ to suggest this idea. On the other hand in ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ incremental repetition is used as it can be clearly seen that the main question is repeated in the first and last stanza.
The concluding stanza contains phrases from the first to offer an explanation for the question in the first stanza. The variation in the line’ the sedge has wither’d to ‘the sedge is wither’d’ suggests that this pale, deathly landscape the knight has found himself in will continue eternally. ‘And no birds sing’ has a stronger resonance in the final stanza than the first because now, after reading the knights narrative story in poem, the reader knows why ‘no birds sing’.
To make a strong appeal to the reader, ‘To Autumn’ also uses words and phrases with an onomatopoeic effect such as ‘winnowing wind’ and ‘wailful choir’. This use of language helps creates the calm Autumn atmosphere and appeals to the readers’ sense of sound. In conclusion both poems use a variety of techniques in order to appeal to the reader, techniques such as personification which works very well in ‘To Autumn’ like in the line; ‘Thy hair soft-lifted’ which says that Autumn has hair, when really it is the leaves of Autumn.
And there is also the appealing interaction done with the dialogue of ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’. Though overall we can see that nature and the use of it to reflect feelings has the most important presence in each poem.