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Romanticism Notes!
I.
II.
III.
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a. Super Natural
b. Nature
c. Imagination
d. Intuition
e. Innocence
f. Independence
g. Intense Feelings
h. Inner Experience
i. Nostalgia for the PAST
j. Distrust of Civilization
The Romantic hero:
a. Driven by intuition, loves nature, is rough/rugged.
Religion
a. You are closer to God and connect better when you are in nature (see: “When I heard the learn’d
Astronomer”)
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
IV.
b. This poem shows the shift from Age of Reason to Romanticism thinking.
Poem: “Old Ironsides”
Aye tear her tattered ensign down
long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;-The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee;-The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
5
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!'
V.
VI.
VII.
a. The author, Wendell, is showing distrust of civilization. He is angry that society wants to tear down the
ship, instead of memorialize it. The best fate, in his opinion, is that the ship sinks into the ocean, thus
serving its purpose.
b. He also uses nature: thunders shook the mighty deep; waves were white below; ocean air, etc.
c. He refers to the supernatural: god of storms, harpies of the shore, etc.
“Walden”
a. Thoreau moved to the woods (near Walden Pond, in Massachusetts). He wished to “live deliberately”
and experience new things
b. He lived in a tiny cabin that he built himself. “Walden” is a journaling of his experience at the pond.
c. “Marrow of life”- he wants to get everything he can out of life.
d. Quotable Quotes: “Envy is ignorance” and “imitation is suicide.”
e. He references nature, independence, intuition, inner experience.
“Civil Disobedience”
a. Thoreau was thrown in jail for a night for not paying his poll tax. He refused to pay this tax, because he
did not support the government for supporting slavery and the Mexican War.
b. He felt freer in jail, because he was being himself and standing up for what he felt was right.
c. One of his main messages was, if you do not agree with a rule (if it is not “your truth”) then you should
rebel against it; however, you should be ready to accept the consequences that come with breaking the
rule.
d. He references independence, intuition, and distrust of civilization
“The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Alan Poe
a. The prince, the abbey, the guests, the masked man, the 7 rooms and the clock all symbolize something!
i. Prince: wealthy people who try to separate themselves from the poor, or outside happenings
ii. The abbey: a fortress/safe place
iii. Guests: in the story, they are referred to as “dreams”- they don’t have a care in the world except
for the party and having fun
iv. The surprise guest: no one noticed him until midnight; his mask looked like a corpse with red
spots on it. Symbolically, it means that death sneaks up on you sometimes, and you can’t avoid
it.
v. The 7 rooms: the 7 ‘stages’ of life; each room is a different color with the last room being draped
in black velvet and blood red windows; looks like a coffin
vi. Clock: located in the last room; everyone freezes when the clock strikes at the hour;
symbolically, it means that time is running out, and we can’t stop time.
b. He references nature (death), and intense feelings.
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