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Commentary on John Keats' "When I Have Fears".

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Donald Zhang English Ms. Hart 12/5/03 Commentary on John Keats' "When I Have Fears" The first line of the poem is the same as the title: "When I have fears that I may cease to be." Not only does it enforce the importance of the first line, but also it tells what the poem is about: "When ?he? ?has? fears that ?he? will cease to be." This English sonnet's rhyme scheme is abab/cdcd/efef/gg. The poem also has the traditional meter of iambic pentameter. Keats uses the title as his introduction to the poem, clearly stating that the poem is about the narrator's fears of dying young. This poem deals with Keats' concern of his own mortality as well as his concerns for the longevity and appreciation of his works. Obviously, Keats is speaking of his concern of death before he has had a chance to write all those poems and works, which he has within him. ...read more.


This would go along with his worry of his potential as a writer. Keats then makes a comparison between the narrator's books of charactery and the collection of "full ripened grain." The narrator's ideas are bound together in books just as the "full ripened grain" is bound together after it is collected. The metaphor of grain expands on the large number of undeveloped ideas the narrator has. When the reader imagines "full ripened grain," he will often picture a large amount produced on a farm or plantation. The commonness of grain is why this metaphor can be so effective. The metaphor is also effective because it returns to the idea of harvesting used early with "glean'd." The quatrain ends with a semicolon that shows a definite break in ideas. He finally reveals his greatest fear: "That shall never look upon thee more." He will miss his beloved and the "unreflecting love" they share together. ...read more.


He feels that if his work does not carry on his legacy after his death his love (his works) and "fame" will disappear all together. In the final two lines, Keats uses alliteration to emphasize the vastness of the empty place the narrator will be by using the 'w' sound in "wide and world." Syntactically the last line holds the only period in the poem, which ends the sentence and the poem. The poem has many significant themes and important ideas; however, it seems that Keats is trying to convey the shortness of life. There are things that we will miss when we die, especially if we die young. The fate of a man is already set, and his destiny is inevitable. Keats is right in this point. No one can live forever, and a person's death is ineludible. If people understand this point, maybe they would live their life to its fullest. For example, if I spend my whole life concentrating on my fears of an early death, then I am never going to enjoy things such as the "faerie power / Of unreflecting love." ...read more.

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