POEM: On the Grasshopper and the Cricket POET: John Keats

RELEVANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The poet is a Romantic poet (they were English poets of 18th century) who celebrated the beauty of nature

Subject (overview)What is the poem about? Point of view
  • It is a Petrarchan sonnet describing Nature’s beauty in summer and winter
Purpose(what message is the poet conveying)
  • The poet tells the readers that nature is always a living force (‘poetry of the earth is never dead’) and that no one is ever alone.
  • Rejuvenating qualities of Nature- with words such as ‘new mown mead’ and ‘summer luxuries’
Emotions(both in the poem and the impact on us, the reader)
  • The octave brings about emotions of happiness and joy as summer is the time to relax and enjoy—‘summer luxury’; ‘delights’
  • The sestet brings feelings of dread and sadness (‘wrought a silence’). However, towards the end of the sestet, the reader realizes that the nature is ever-present and there is always hope(‘the Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing never’).
Structure (includes verse, rhyme scheme)
  • The poem is a petrarchan sonnet (consists of an octave and a sestet) and it expresses love, joy and the beauty of nature.
  • The octave talks about summer whereas the sestet describes winter.
  • The poet uses a regular rhyme scheme (2nd & 3rd and 1st & 4th in the octave) (1st & 4th, 2nd & 3rd and 3rd & 6th in the sestet)- gives the poem a lyrical quality
  • Some rhymes used are eye rhymes or half rhymes (lead/dead/weed/mead).
  • Iambic pentameter is used in the poem because it has a uniform rhythm which reflects the rhythms of nature and the melody of nature (poetry of the earth)
Line length (end stopped, enjambment, punctuation such as caesura)
  • The use of a colon in the line ‘the poetry of the earth is never dead:’ indicates that the first line is a statement and the explanation is being followed.
  • The octave consists of no end stopped lines (Enjambment). The full stop at the end of the octave suggests the end of the season.
  • The caesura used in lines 5-6 slows down the pace of the poem to enhance the leisurely feeling of summer
Imagery (sensory imagery, colour imagery, animal imagery, nature imagery, similes, metaphors- in general use of figurative language)
Octave:* Auditory:
  1. “Poetry of the earth”—songs of nature
  2. “”cooling”, ’rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed’ (the assonance of the ‘e’ sound makes the pace easy-going and mellifluous.
  3. mown mead” (is an alliteration). The soft sounds in the octave emphasise the summery feeling
  • Kinesthetic: ‘birds are faint with hot sun’. This is juxtaposed by the movement of the grasshopper.
  • Thermal: ‘hot sun’ and ‘cooling trees’. This allows the reader to visualize the conditions of the summer.
  • Visual: words such as ‘summer luxury’ suggest positive connotations of the summer season, creating a picture of the bounty of nature.
  • Olfactory: smell of ‘new mown mead’. Again this emphasizes the freshness of summer with its pleasant scents.

Sestet:* Auditory: winter is usually harsh, so to keep with the theme of winter, the cricket makes a ‘shrill’ sound. This juxtaposes the silence which was faced initially in the sestet.
  • Sibilance in the last part of the poem: ‘cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever/ And seems to one in drowsiness half lost..’- mimics the soporific (sleep-inducing) atmosphere.
  • Visual- personification of frost.

  • Thermal:
  1. The ‘frost’ suggests a cold atmosphere.
  2. The warmth from the stove and the metaphorical warmth of the cricket’s song creates an optimistic tone. ‘in warmth increasing ever’
  • Kinesthetic: ‘drowsiness’ contrasts the actions in the summer.
Mood(including tone, atmosphere)
The reader’s mood: * ‘cooling trees’ creates a soothing effect
  • ‘delights’ creates one of satisfaction
  • ‘luxury’ symbolizes the happiness felt by the beauty of the summer
  • ‘wrought a silence’ creates a gloomy atmosphere which is in contrast with the summer.
  • Increasing warmth in sestet shows that there is always hope. This creates a reassuring feeling in the reader.
Summary (go back to the main idea and the overall impact it has on you, the reader)
The message that the poem tries to convey is that life always goes on in spite of the heat from the sun and the harsh winters. In the poem, as there are extremities of climate; the extremes are alleviated. The poet’s message is that nobody is ever alone, nature always provides solace.