Keats' Poems and Letters

Analysis of Keat's Ode To Autumn

Keats' ode 'To Autumn' deals predominantly with the passage of time, described within the imagery of the season of Autumn. The ode is a celebration of change, involving life, growth and death. Keats makes use of many literary and textual tools, which will be detailed in this analysis. A symbolic reading of this poem produces not only a literal appreciation of the text, but also invites the question of whether Keats was making another statement on the human condition, specifically the transitory nature of life itself.

The first stanza details the fertility of the season, with growth and ripening being the predominant images. Autumn is presented as a female personification, with many of the allusions being to natural growth; this allusion is strengthened later in the poem. The season is presented as one that is giving - "loading" and "blessing with fruit", "swelling" and "plumping". The bounteousness of Autumn is emphasised with "still more, later flowers", so many that bees continue to harvest as though the days of plenty will never stop. The description is predominantly feminine, and Keats uses words that suggest pregnancy or a natural state, such as "ripeness", "swell" and "budding". The first stanza centres on the growth of...

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