English 271 Essay 5 Apostrophe

English 271 Essay 5 Apostrophe - English 271 Paper -...

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English 271 Paper - Apostrophe The apostrophe Keats employs in “This Living Hand” is particularly powerful, and even atypical of the trope, because it involves direct address of the second person. In many poems that utilize apostrophe, the poem is speaking to an inanimate object or some abstract concept; the speaker is being "not heard but overheard" (Culler). In "This Living Hand," the speaker directly addresses the reader about his fate. The “I” here is an anonymous man who may soon die and who threatens to haunt the reader from the grave. However, the speaker does not transform the unresponsive subject to the responsive or even animate the inanimate “thou.” Indeed, the “thou” being addressed represents the readers, who clearly must be living and breathing if they are reading the page before them. As the succinct poem develops, Keats manipulates apostrophe so that by the end, speaker and reader are playing musical chairs over their own identities. It is no longer clear who is living or dead, present or absent, animated or struck dumb. In Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind,” the speaker is a poet—either Shelley himself or an
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This note was uploaded on 01/10/2009 for the course ENGL 2710 taught by Professor Francois,anne-lise during the Fall '08 term at Cornell.

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English 271 Essay 5 Apostrophe - English 271 Paper -...

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