Look at the word ‘asleep’. What do we normally associate with the word? When does the reader recognise that the soldier is asleep in a different sense?

The word ‘asleep’ is usually associated with the act of sleeping when one is completely worn out. The sleep, in this case, would rejuvenate one’s self thereby offering relaxation to the stressful nerves. Initially, the reader is led to believe by the poet through the skilful construction of images that the soldier is sleeping on the green bed to revitalise his dampened soul. While the soothing warm rays of the sun almost lulls his senses, the humming of the insects fail to disturb his repose. It is only at the end do we fully understand that the soldier is a casualty of war. Rimbaud jolts the readers by stating that “in his side, there are two red holes”. Thus, we eventually realise that the young soldier is lying cold and dead in the midst of the warm valley brimming with life. He is made to leave his business on earth incomplete by the ravages of warfare.

Comment on Rimbaud’s treatment of symbol and imagery in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’.

Arthur Rimbaud was a great symbolist poet. His usage of imagery and symbols throughout the poem is splendid. The scenic view opens up with a green, the pleasant and soothing spectacle of life. The colour changes into blue with the spontaneous flow of a rivulet and wildflowers. The colour finally turns horrid red signifying violence and massacre. These colours help the poet to paint excellent images in the entire poem. In this poem, the image of the ‘sun’ and the valley’ serve as predominant symbols. The “sun’-the creator of life on earth, though keeps everything warm and lively, fails to revive the dead soldier. The recurrent images of the sun (sun’s rays, sun-soaked bed, sunlight) actually emphasises its vain effort to keep the dead soldier warm, as life can never be stirred in him again. The word ‘valley’ signifies the valley of nature which symbolically turns into a valley of death for the young soldier. Thus, Rimbaud’s excellence in using symbols and images has lifted the poem to a greater level than a mere war poem.

Nature plays an important role in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ by Arthur Rimbaud- Justify.

The poem ends a little abruptly but leaves the reader with utter surprise and shock Discuss.

The poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ rests on two contrasting pictures. Discuss the use of two contrasting pictures in the poem,

What is the occasion of the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’? Give a simile used by the poet in the poem. Are there other comparisons in the poem?

Give the substance of Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare.

Discuss the central idea of the poem, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?.

Discuss the appropriateness of the title of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”-Who makes the comparison? Who is compared to a summer’s day’? What are the blemishes of summer?

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”-Whom does the poet compare his friend to? What are the qualities that make the person superior to summer?

“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed;” What is the figure of speech used in ‘eye of heaven’? What makes the dim? What does the poet imply in the above lines?

“And every fair from fair sometime declines”-From which poem is the line quoted? Who is the poet? Briefly explain the meaning of the quoted line. How does the poet promise to immortalize his friend’s beauty?

“By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.”-What makes Shakespeare mention ‘nature’s changing course’? Discuss.

“But thy eternal summer shall not fade / Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;” Whose ‘eternal summer’ is being referred to here? What does ‘eternal summer’ mean? What conclusion does the poet draw at the end of the poem?

“Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade, / When in eternal lines to time thou grow’ st,”—Who is the poet? Who is the ‘thou’ here? What shall death not be able to brag about and why?

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to three.”-From where have the lines been taken? How does the speaker immortalise his friend?

“… and this gives life to thee.”-What does this’ refer to? Who is referred to by ‘thee’? How does this’ give life?

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