• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of John Berryman's Dream Song

Extracts from this document...


HENRY BY NIGHT- JOHN BERRYMAN In his poem, Berryman presents the reader with the image of a deeply troubled, sad and lonely man and the half life that he is living. The voice of the poem is that of an outside narrator looking in on the life of Henry, most likely the persona that Berryman created in his ?Dream Songs?. Through the poem, Berryman explores the themes of life and the inner demons that can hinder. The first line of the poem creates a hook and sets up the subject matter of the poem; that of a man and his ?nocturnal habits?, his constantly restless nights. From this opening, we can already see that Henry has many relationships with the opposite sex due the ?his women? being plural. Berryman, in fact, was noted for having a series of infidelities during his life, so perhaps this could give evidence for the view that Berryman and his persona Henry were one. The line is further strengthened by the combination of diction and structure; the use of the word ?terror? evokes dread in the reader as the connotations are ...read more.


This is only emphasised by ?you?ll admit it was no way to live/ or even keep alive.?- showing that the persona is barely surviving, keeping himself together with ?drugs and alcohol?, which present a vicious circle as these would further distort his mind. Berryman himself was an alcoholic and was hospitalised for exhaustion and nerves many times in his life, further adding weight to the idea that Henry was just an outlet for Berryman?s feelings. Berryman emphasises the dramatic nature of Henry?s sleeping habits through his pairings of strong verbs ?thrashed & tossed?, ?sweating & shaking?, the alliteration and the use of the ampersand reflecting the fact that these actions go on and on, continuously terrorising his sleep. The structure of the poem is just as important as Berryman?s diction in shaping the themes. The poem has seventeen lines and is structured in two stanzas, the line lengths uneven. Berryman?s rhythms are dictated by the pauses he creates, both slowing and quickening the pace. For instance, the rhythms in the centre of the poem are fast, reflecting Berryman?s period of intense action; ?reading new mail, writing new letters, scribbling excessive Songs.? ?Songs? here is capitalised, possibly referring to Berryman?s work of poetry about Henry, the Dream Songs. ...read more.


Berryman?s rhyme scheme is actually a rather traditional pattern of ABCABC DEFDEF GHHGH. However, despite most of the rhymes being full, such as ?back? and ?track?, ?scribbling? and ?quibbling?, the use of enjambment throughout the poem makes the reader stop only when Berryman wants us to, which ensures that the rhyming is extremely subtle. Hence instead of unifying the poem, as the rhyme is not evident immediately to the reader it seems to create an unsettled atmosphere that aids the picture of a tortured soul. Berryman skilfully utilises a blend of aural imagery and carefully chosen words to paint a melancholy picture of tormented man. The varied rhythms in the poem reflect the tumultuous nature of Henry?s ?nocturnal habits?; the slow and fast paces coincide with Henry?s intermittent sleep and subsequent frenzied periods of action. The advice of the unnamed outside ?narrator?, ?something?s gotta give?, ends the poem; something has to be done in Henry?s life as, if he continues on this path and wakes ?for good at five? each morning for normal life, it is evident that he will drive himself to the grave. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Poets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Poets essays

  1. Commentary on The Lost Heritage by Heather Buck

    But despite the fact that we have forgotten our past, it is described that the child of the present is full of fear and uncertainty. This contrasts to the child that was described from the past who knew exactly what was needed of her.

  2. thematic concern of "The Anniversary" by John Donne

    The world of these lovers is sufficient in itself and they enjoy an eternity of constant pleasure. He states: "Only our love hath no decay; This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday," These lines imply that there love is timeless and also implies the freshness of their bond.

  1. To what extent is Hardys poetry dominated by relationships?

    In The Waterfall nature seems to, "add to the rhyme of love" In Neutral Tones shows a couple's apathy towards each other mirrored by the colourless autumn landscape. In Beeny Cliff the seasons are also utilised; it is a "clear-sunned March day" which traditionally represents a time of fertility and joy.

  2. love song of j. alfred prufrock

    Throughout the poem there are images of restriction and entrapment. This is apparent in metaphors like the fog-cat and insect metaphors. All these indirectly underscore the persona's inability to escape social tedium. The insect metaphor ('And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,/When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall')

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work