In this poem, in a subtle fashion, Rimbaud expresses the fruitlessness of war. The poet tries to express the destruction caused by war, presenting it in contrast with the pleasant nature. The sun, as a natural element, attempts to keep the young soldier warm but fails to revive him. The soldier’s infant-like smile stands in sharp contrast to the cruelty that he must have witnessed on the battlefield. The mention of the bullet wounds in the concluding line of the poem brings the readers to the reality-reality behind the horrors of warfare. All these bring out the futility of war that destroys young lives, but in return does not earn anything.

The futility and brutality of war are revealed through the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’. Arthur Rimbaud through this sonnet presents war as an organised butchery of young lives in the name of the well-being of a nation.

How does the soldier lie in Asleep in the Valley’?

Rimbaud paints a delicate picture of the young soldier lying asleep on the ‘heavy undergrowth’ of the valley. The valley seems to effuse the body of the soldier with some of its vitality. He lies calm and relaxed with a pillow made of fern beneath his head. The flowers cushion his tired feet while nature keeps him warm. The image of the soldier lying at peace ‘with one hand on his chest’ is an expression of utmost tranquillity. Nature continues to protect him from the cold while he rests in peace in the valley. The rhythmic humming of the insects fails to disturb his repose. However, this image of bliss is shattered with the mention of ‘two red holes’. It is here that the readers realise that the soldier has been lying dead in the valley all this while.

How does this picture of the soldier describe the tragedy of war? Explain.

Bring out the irony of the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’.

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?

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

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.

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