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Unformatted text preview: DOVER BEACH • Written in 1851 when Arnold and his wife visited Dover Beach, the port in England closest to the French coastline. • This was the same year they got married • Published in 1867 in the compilation New Poems • The structure is categorized as free verse because the meter and rhyme scheme are not consistent • Arnold’s main message in the poem is that the populous’ faith in religion has begun to waver in the face of scientific discovery • First stanza is mostly imagery, as Arnold describes the his surroundings at Dover Beach • The images are used as metaphors for the fading faith of the times (i.e. “light gleams and is gone”) • The grating of the pebbles as the erode is representative of the gradual erosion of religious following • The stanza ends on an explicit note of sadness as Arnold fears the complete loss of belief • The second stanza begins with a mention of the Greek dramatist Sophocles • Arnold references the fact that Sophocles also wrote about human misery due to lack of faith, and what Sophocles heard “long ago” was the same “eternal note of sadness” that Arnold now hears at the beach • In the third stanza, Arnold makes a more obvious statement of his theme: that the “Sea of Faith” ebbs and flows just like the real sea and that it is now “retreating” into a low tide. • The fourth stanza is Arnold’s lament. The view at the Oceanside allows him to see how beautiful the world can be, yet he is distressed a place so beautiful “hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light” due to an increasing decline in faith CULTURE AND ANARCHY • Published serially from 1867-1868 • Arnold sees culture as a “study of perfection,” that to be cultured is to be the best human being possible • He begins chapter 1 stating that critics of “culture” see it as a vain pretentious pursuit for intellectual recognition • Arnold agrees that some people do pursue this, however they are not truly cultured • He also says that culture is pursued for more complex reasons than mere curiosity • He discusses the fact that the English have always associated a negative connotation with the world curiosity, as it implies frivolity • Arnold agrees with the rest of the world’s opinion that there can be meaningful as well as frivolous curiosity • Another motive for seeking culture is to improve the world and the human condition • The origin of culture is not in simple desire for knowledge, but a love for perfection. This is why Arnold refers to culture as the study of perfection.is why Arnold refers to culture as the study of perfection....
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course ENGL 121 taught by Professor Martinez during the Spring '08 term at UNC.
- Spring '08