English Oxbridge interview text discussion

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coodooloo
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Basically, discussing some texts that may improve our close-reading techniques to an unseen text for an Oxbridge English interview?
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coodooloo
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Just to kick of:
'He Remembers Forgotten Beauty' by WB Yeats:

WHEN my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God's eyes did not close:
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
For hours when all must fade like dew,
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Brood her high lonely mysteries.
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Legendary-A-Sonic
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Thanks for setting up this thread! I can't post for a day or two because I'm so busy, but as soon as I'm free I'll give this a go. Can I link this in my sig to give it a bit more publicity?
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coodooloo
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go ahead.
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username835236
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This is a brilliant idea for a thread!

Now, please excuse me whilst I figuratively kick myself, as I had just spent some time attempting to analyse the poem you posted when Chrome decided to close itself :rolleyes: Argh!

So, I'll attempt to re-record my thoughts before I find out whether my analysis is an accurate one or not.

(Original post by coodooloo)
Just to kick off:
'He Remembers Forgotten Beauty' by WB Yeats:

WHEN my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
This appears to be a love poem, with an AB rhyme scheme. "my arms wrap you round" could imply that this woman (I'm going to assume it's a woman) is his 'world'; something that he wants to protect? She represents to him the "loveliness/ That has long faded from the world" - perhaps he values certain ideals which have gone "out of fashion"?
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
"jewelled crowns" = precious commodity, much like this woman is to him. "In shadowy pools" could refer to clouded judgement/immorality i.e. impurity? If we assume the "jewelled crowns" to be women, then this could refer to men corrupting their beauty? This line has an element of the fairy-tale in it, mentioning armies and kings. "when armies fled" could imply the man's sense of protection or assuredness?
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
"The love-tales" are long gone and a thing of the past. They are once again described as being very precious, with "silken thread", however over time they have been destroyed by "the murderous moth". Perhaps Keats is commenting on how relationships are no longer valuable? Or on how beauty is lost over time?
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Roses = romantic, lilies = death. Keats could be commenting on the loss of romance? The lilies could be referring to a funeral, as a "sacred corridor" could refer to the aisle in a church. Once again, "dew-cold" could imply death.
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God's eyes did not close:
Only God is privy to true beauty, as human judgement is clouded?
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
"pale breast and lingering hand" = a corpse? "a more dream-heavy land" = death? Or Keats could be talking about the girl who is being embraced as coming from "a more dream-heavy land" = heaven, as she is so pure and uncorrupted?
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
"sigh from kiss to kiss" implies a sense of dissatisfaction, perhaps? Maybe the narrator is losing his uncorrupted beauty as she fades over time (much like the moth-eaten silk)? "white Beauty" could imply a pure, innocent beauty - as the "B" is capitalised I assume Keats is personifying this romantic ideal, or else "Beauty" is the woman being embraced?
For hours when all must fade like dew,
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Similar to "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" - this could be the "funeral" of true beauty, as Keats sees it?
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Once again, reminiscent of a fairy tale. This poem captures a dream-like state - perhaps implying that true beauty will be completely forgotten soon unless it is recorded? "Their swords upon their iron knees" could suggest that 'they' have given up/stopped fighting, and are reluctant to move/set in stone (set in their ways) "iron knees"?
Brood her high lonely mysteries.
Personifying beauty once again, I would assume. The "high lonely mysteries" of beauty are only to be brooded on in the future, not fought for? Is this poem a warning from Keats that unless beauty is recaptured it will be lost forever?
Okay, so, there's my interpretation of it! I'm going to try and find some notes on the poem online so I can compare, but it'd be awesome if everyone else could offer their interpretations as well And I'm happy to find another piece of poetry/prose for us to mull over next, just let me know if/when you want one.

EDIT: Okay, perhaps not, I can't seem to find a critical analysis of this poem anywhere! I suppose that's rather the point of unseen texts, though :rolleyes:
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coodooloo
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Very good interpretation to the poem!! I have some thoughts.
I think the title is highly significant as it presents an oxymoron between remembering and forgetting, it somewhat suggests the difficulty of being able to review the issue he discusses, beauty is after all a very abstract and difficult topic to discuss. I think there is a sense of effort within the poem, which also mirrors Yeats' choice of title, being the endeavour to remember and retrace his thinking and feelings, amongst the society's forgetfulness. I think the poem begins rather sensuously as Yeats evokes imagery which evokes the touch between characters. However, this touch sensation seems to link with the metaphorical feeling as "I press my heart upon the loveliness." the heart clearly denotes a physical sense, whilst the loveliness is the emotion that is evoked through that touch. Yet this rather personal and intimate level is contrary to the world as it "has long faded from the world" which seems to mean the world's reluctance to give such care and preoccupation with love as that character does. As Yeats bring this world in the poem, he further-develops the imagery that surrounds our civilised world- "The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled". Connecting to your point, these facets of the world become the narrator's own desires at an intimate level. It therefore seems his obsession with power, and therefore links to the patriarchal dominance. Perhaps his situation mirrors that of a conservative society with patriarchal laws. Yet, he counteracts this by stating "The roses that of old time were/ Woven by ladies in their hair." Despite the simplicity of this action, Yeats seems to suggest how a rose which symbolises love, attraction, romance is a creation of the beauty and woman. Yet, this harmonious behaviour is clearly retrospective through Yeats reference to "old time." Yeats associates a sense of decadence and death through that statement as though to suggest it is exempt from the horror of the world. The tone shifts simultaneously as Yeats evokes imagery which evokes a cold and horrid tone, "dew-cold" and "grey-clouds." This sensation and tone seems to depict the presence as all the "beauty" and "loveliness" has died and is forever forgotten. However, Yeats does ensinuate the differences between the distorted perception of humanity and the clarity of God's eyes who's "eyes did not close." I believe Yeats creates quite a disturbing mood on this statement as he continues, "For that pale breast and lingering hand/ Come from a more dream-heavy land." Reading this with the awareness of God's spectatorship horrified the reader as the "pale breast" denotes the sense of God's voyeurism and lurking behavior. The "lingering hand" further denotes God's omniscient power to take advantage of beauty. And as you said the "dream heavy-land" is that of God. this clearly sets a dystopian view on the world and how the seemingly omni-God has become a master of disaster (lol!). When referring to "White Beauty sighing too" Yeats conflates the objective term with personfied characteristics. I believe that this reflects the fact that beauty is altered and manipulated through people's own perceptions of it, which dilutes it to the extent that it becomes an insoluble term. I see the last line differently now having analysed the above bit (lol). "flame on flame" and "deep on deep" connote a sense of hell, death and transgression. The flame obviously brings the reader to a depiction of the hellish setting, whilst the deep reflects the intensity of the punishment. plus the repetition intensifies the sensation further. I think after my dystopian idea, I think that this may reflect that and how forgetting the TRUE meaning of beauty has lead the world to destroy the term completely and live in a world neglected of its true meaning.

My initial few readings gave me little to analyse, but as I started writing my ideas became more confident. How did you find it??
And you can send the next text, if you want.
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username835236
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(Original post by coodooloo)
My initial few readings gave me little to analyse, but as I started writing my ideas became more confident. How did you find it??
And you can send the next text, if you want.
I like your idea of a dystopia That's brilliant!

Yeah, I had the same problem, it took me a couple of read-through's before I could begin to attempt an analysis But as you say, it got easier as I went over it and collected my ideas together coherently. Hopefully with a bit of practice things can only get better from here!
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coodooloo
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Yeah, absolutely. So how do you feel about the application process, have you written your personal statement?
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username835236
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(Original post by coodooloo)
Yeah, absolutely. So how do you feel about the application process, have you written your personal statement?
Yep, I've sent my UCAS off so now I'm jsut waiting for my reference to be written I'm hoping it'll be done by the end of this week. How about you?
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coodooloo
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great. yeah, I have filled in most of my UCAS but changing my personal statement before sending it off.
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Mumblebee
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Thought I'd have a go as I need some practice of 'prac crit', so here's what came to mind:

'He Remembers Forgotten Beauty' by WB Yeats:
Interesting that Yeats says 'he' as if implying the voice of the speaker in the poem is not him, but some other 'he'. It's also oxymoronic, as has been said before, which arguably gives the sense that the 'he' of the title is going against the grain, set apart from those who have 'forgotten', hence implying a feeling of alienation. And also the abstract noun of 'beauty' suggests that the poem is not really about some particular woman but rather beauty in general. In other words he is using the microcosm (sort of) of a woman to make a larger point about lost beauty

WHEN my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
'Wrap you round' is an ambiguous way of saying it. He's not saying 'wrap round you', but 'wrap you round', so he could mean he is 'wrapping her round him'. In other words its unclear if he's wrapping her or he's wrapping her arms around him. There's also a lot of language of tactility and touch, so Yeats is appealing to senses. He's also literally clinging on to something that is 'fading', so perhaps the speaker is aware of the futility of what he's doing. This is backed up by the fact that it's 'long faded'. It seems like she is a last relic of a beauty otherwise gone from the world.
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
The line starts the trend of juxtaposition in the imagery of the poem, because of the contrast between the jewelled crowns of kings and the shadowy pools. As has been suggested before the pools could represent a murky morality or an era of uncertainty. 'Armies fled' could also be seen as a kind of juxtaposition, as armies are an image of strength and violence compared with the cowardice and fear of fleeing.
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
Again there is juxtaposition in this section. 'Wrought' is usually a word applied to metal or something strong and durable like that, yet here it is applied to 'silken thread', something far more fine and beautiful but also far more feeble and delicate. It could be seen that the 'dreaming ladies' are naive to expect their sewn love tales to last, and indeed 'dreaming' seems to imply they are a bit giddy with love. The moth is clearly shown to be the enemy, and in this way Yeats, despite hinting that they are naive, takes the side of the ladies. He is suggesting that it is a sad but certain fact that the most beautiful things, including love itself, fade. Interesing that the gradual process of silk becoming moth-eaten is described as 'murder', something violent and shocking rather than slow and gradual. This gives a kind of immediacy and bluntness to the effects of time.
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
An image of delicacy and prettiness. However this is offset slightly by the unsatisfying half-rhyme of 'were' and 'hair'. Slightly sours the otherwise simple attractiveness of the image.
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Dew-cold is both an image of lightness and freshness, but hints at a coldness and bittnerness, building on the previous image but also slightly souring the twee picture. Yeats is remembering this 'old beauty' with nostalgia but also a touch of bitterness. Also 'bore' might suggest implicitly a kind of burden. It's just that you usually use 'bore' in the sense of bearing a burden, not something you are actually pleased to have.
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God's eyes did not close:
'Grey clouds rose' is again hinting at something ominous and grim. Also uncertainty. TBH I'm not entirely sure about these lines tho.
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
'Pale' implies purity, innocence and youth, and 'lingering' implies something temporary - still, but waiting to move. He sounds as if he is relishing the moment of her hand suspended in its place, but with the knowlege that it will move. Throughout the poem there's definitely a sense of longing for something that you know will fade or change. That's why it's only lingering and not still.
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
'Dream heavy' is pretty oxymoronic. Dreams are usually associated with levity and a lack of physicality, but 'heavy' is the opposite. Maybe by 'dream heavy' me means a time that was full of dreams and hopes and ideals. Also it's notable that he says 'hour' rather than, say, 'time'. It suggests again that each stage of life is more fleeting and temporary, and doesn't last long.
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
'Sighing' suggests both sexuality and sensuality with a sense of remorse of bleakness. She sighs between kisses, suggesting they find solace in one another.
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
For hours when all must fade like dew,
White beauty is an image of purity and innocence, and again this line reflects the idea that he sees her as a microcosm for something bigger. Again he says 'hours' rather than 'years' or 'eras'. The time scale is shorter than you would think, I think because Yeats wants it to feel more immediate and brief and constantly changing. Dew is an image of the seasons, and recalls its use earlier in the poem.
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Flames suggest passion, but also violence and destruction.
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
He's talking about the passing of monarchs, so the change he is describing is over entire eras, but has been compressed for effect into mere 'hours'. 'Half in sleep' could relate to the images of dreaming earlier in the poem. It also implies a carelessness and lack of sense in what is happening. This gives the poem a sense of futility or nihilism or maybe just senselessness, as if the speaker has seen enough change that he no longer takes these things seriously and can see the senselessness of it all.
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Brood her high lonely mysteries.
Again an image of violence, but they are leaning the sword on their knees, implying calm. Not entirely sure about that line. High suggests something out of reach but also something he reveres, with status. This is then offset by the sense of sadness implied by 'lonely' and confusion of 'mysteries.' The last syllable of the poem is unstressed, contrary to the pattern, so the ending is weak and not assured. The poem hence ends on a sense of sadness.

So that's what I thought in quite a bit of detail. Thanks BTW this thread is great. I'm now gonna look up the poem on t'internet.
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username835236
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(Original post by Mumblebee)
x

So that's what I thought in quite a bit of detail. Thanks BTW this thread is great. I'm now gonna look up the poem on t'internet.
That's a really good analysis; you've got me worried now! I think I might try writing out a prac crit in essay form next, it'll probably be more useful than scribbling out disjointed thoughts.
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coodooloo
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(Original post by Mumblebee)
Thought I'd have a go as I need some practice of 'prac crit', so here's what came to mind:

So that's what I thought in quite a bit of detail. Thanks BTW this thread is great. I'm now gonna look up the poem on t'internet.
This is really good!
Feel free to add the next poem or prose. remember the elat also involves other forms of literature than just poems.
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username835236
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From ‘He knew him well’ by James Kelman
The old man lowered the glass from his lips and began rolling another cigarette. His eyes never strayed until finally he lit up, inhaling deeply. He stared at me for perhaps thirty seconds then cleared his throat and began speaking. ‘Funny places – pubs. Drank in here for near enough twenty years.’ He paused, shaking his head slowly. ‘Never did get to know him. No. Never really spoke to him apart from Evening Dennis, Night Dennis...’ He paused again to relight the dead cigarette. ‘One of the only survivors too. Never said much about it. Don’t blame him though.’ He looked up quickly then peered round the pub. ‘No, don’t blame him. Talk too much in this place already they do. Never bloody stop, it’s no good.’ He finished the remainder of his drink and looked over to the bar, catching the barman’s eye who nodded, opened a Guinness and sent it across.
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elfrench
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I'm really worried about analysing poetry in the ELAT. I did not take English Lit, but rather Lit Lang (did not know I wanted to apply to Oxford when I did so). My Combined course completely neglects poetry (AHHHHHHH). Can anyone help me??? A list of key terms that can at least make my analysis sound somewhat informed.....???
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username835236
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(Original post by elfrench)
I'm really worried about analysing poetry in the ELAT. I did not take English Lit, but rather Lit Lang (did not know I wanted to apply to Oxford when I did so). My Combined course completely neglects poetry (AHHHHHHH). Can anyone help me??? A list of key terms that can at least make my analysis sound somewhat informed.....???
Pay attention to form and structure - themes can often be inferred in poetry through the presentation of the piece. Enjambment could imply a disordered state of mind, for example, whilst the use of rhyme could indicate that the poem's narrator is intelligent/upper-class. In the case of "older" poems, rhyme could have been used to make the piece more memorable (context!) as it may not have been committed to writing. You have to relate the form/structure to the content of the poem and show how they correspond to convey meaning.

Throw yourself in at the deep end and attempt to analyse a piece of poetry, you might surprise yourself with how much you can say!
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coodooloo
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poetry is a big area with differences. but the main distinct feature is the use of form. For instance, how rhyme, rhythm is used to harmonize the poem's content? or perhaps a sonnet form? and how this is commonly associated with a romantic feel. Look at the use of narrative voice- is it an omniscient narrator which represents the general view on life or is it distorted through a character and sensibility- like modernist poets. Apart from FORM and NARRATIVE VOICE- there are little differences. But instinctively, you'll be able to see the differences etc. Have a look at the poems that are uploaded here and others on the web.
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MSB
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Have you seen this.
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username835236
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Thank-you, that's a really helpful post
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elfrench
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(Original post by hannahwhelan)
Pay attention to form and structure - themes can often be inferred in poetry through the presentation of the piece. Enjambment could imply a disordered state of mind, for example, whilst the use of rhyme could indicate that the poem's narrator is intelligent/upper-class. In the case of "older" poems, rhyme could have been used to make the piece more memorable (context!) as it may not have been committed to writing. You have to relate the form/structure to the content of the poem and show how they correspond to convey meaning.

Throw yourself in at the deep end and attempt to analyse a piece of poetry, you might surprise yourself with how much you can say!
good advice! i'm just having a quick, pre-preparation dither. I'm now attending lit AS classes voluntarily to get myself back into the swing, have printed off the sample paper and am talking to my english department. I do know I can do it - I remember loving poetry at GCSE - but I'm just a bit rusty. thanks for being helpful, rather than just thinking 'she's an idiot' - this is a reaction i get from some who think 'what, she's wanting to do english and hasn't read poetry?'
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