Poetry: History And Origins Of

5354 words (21 pages) Essay in English Literature

31/05/17 English Literature Reference this

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Literature is as old as history of the man itself. Over the past few decades, the role of literature in language learning & teaching has been subject to variations. However, literature was excluded from language teaching programme owing to many reasons. The common among these was it structural complexity and its unique use of language. As, literature reflects cultural perspective which is difficult to conceptualize by foreign language students, therefore, it is uninteresting for them.

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Literature is being considered to be an integral part of any language teaching and learning programme. Language and literature are inseparable. The inclusion of literature in language teaching and learning can bring a fresh breeze into the dry and mechanical task of language learning and teaching.

Inge (1970) says,

“Literature flourishes best when it is half trade and half an art.”

Literature makes language learning enjoyable because it does not only provide a genuine context for communication, but it also gives pleasure by engaging emotions.

Therefore, it motivates and stimulates the language learner.

Stop ford A. Brooke (1970) says, “Literature is something that gives pleasure to the reader.”

Moreover, literature has different genres like plays, essays, short stories and poetry. The major focus is on the poetry. Before it, here is a definition on literature.

Oscar Wilde (1970) says,

“Literature is something that is to be written not to be read.”

In early period, conventional blocks were linked together. According to agreed rules, we can observe much in folk song where the old method was never discontinued. Blave argues that by the end of mediaeval period, literature had been written in English for hundreds of years and it was seen that there is no existence of knowledge of previous literature and language. English appeared to be a language without a past and with a literature that was always modern. Hence words could not attract to themselves those associations linked with known literary works or linguistic origins. English words were insubstantial things which had to be given meanings by many devices such as repetition.

2.2. Poetry:

Poetry grasps student’s attention, it’s format and style is different as compared to the ordinary run of literary texts. Other than this, poetry is one of the most ancient and widespread of the (literary) arts.

Poetry is an important genre in English literature. In poetry, we find fantasized, imaginative world. Here are definitions:

Eliot (1970) says,

“Poetry is the imagination that presents its subject with clarity, precision and economy of language.”

Sidney (1970) says,

“All the imaginative literature is poetry.”

Poems are at times better to use in the classroom because they are briefer and more compact than essays or even short stories.

Coleridge (1970) says,

“The best words in the best order”

Poetry helps the readers to become more intensive reader and most jobs today still call for some close reading and clear writing.

Poetry also reflects the culture of a society to a great extent. It also acts as a mirror of the changing times of a country.

Taking the poetry of Pakistan for example, we can get clear picture of the changing viewpoints which are going on in Pakistan at that times. Poetry is used all around the world for teaching and learning purpose. Simple English poems are rich in suggestive, colourful and associative word and expressions which speak subtly different messages to different people. Each personal meaning found in the poem is shared, exchanged, negotiated, reinforced, valued, or loosed in the process of interacting freely, safely, funnily with other’s findings. There are different meanings to understand poetry. But here, the focus is only on the connotative meaning.

2.3. History / Origin of Poetry:

Poetry is not very popular these days. This is an obvious fact for poets, teachers of poetry and poetry-lovers. A different kind of poetry is very much alive today in the forms of popular music lyrics and raps and in jingles but for advertisement and for political purposes. These forms are mostly kept in listeners’ memories due to the commercial pressures. But many of these forms clearly depend on music or on the interaction of words and music,or on the additional qualities of performance in order to succeed because the written texts may be uninteresting and may miss the special points made by the interaction of music and words in performance. In literary poetry, since the beginning of the twentieth century, practice has shifted away from audible rhythm and towards free verse. For a few decades, while the traditions of rhythm were still active in minds of readers, the free verse of Eliot Pound, Williams and H.D. and the syllabic verse of Marianne Moore could be received as experiments in new sorts of rhythm, reactions toward or against conventions of meter, defamiliarizing the real rhythms of spoken word.

The notion of meter in written poetry has vanished from the public memory so there is no interest in written poetry for general readership. This shift founds in the history of western poetry towards the effacement of the bodily pleasure that is experienced in the regular, musical rhythm of meter and towards the meaningful poetry as act of communication.

Anthony Easthope (1983) has described the history of this trend within the frame work of the ascendancy of bourgeois culture and of individual subjectivity. The argument of Easthope is deep and compelling and Amittai F. Auiram has been as having something of a complementary relation with it. But Easthope emphasizes the revolutionary aspects of modernism in poetry and sees poet like pound as reversing and breaking the trend towards bourgeois subjectivity, Avirain sees pound’s abandonment of traditional forms, his insistance on the rhythm of each line representing the sense as only a continuation of that very trend. In short, it is attend away from poetry toward prose, narrative or exposition; away from the rhythmic pleasures of the body and towards its repression in social discourse; away from the runs subjective effect of rhythm and toward individual expression, socially constructed, as in pound, than self begins to reach the limits of its own undoing. The trend from poetry toward prose should be seen within the context of a theory of poetry but has become especially prominent in modern times as society has shifted what toward the importance of information in its material life. Thing are not valuable for the physical adventures they offer so much a for what they mean in the most reductive sense, for example, how much they cost, what they are worth on the market.

For twenty five year T.S Eliot exercised an authority in the literary world not posses by any writer before him for more than a century. Bu the end of 1920s his poetry was an escapable influence on younger poets and his criticism shaped their word and he was pared by many authors. Twenty year later, the waste land was still widely regarded as the most radical and brilliant development of modernist poetry. An important point is that one must have seen the ages of 1940s and 1950s in which Eliot’s literary terms and judgments were cited frequently and respectfully. Moreover, Christian ideology was unattractive to many scholars in England and the united states. Thus Eliot was seen as a central poet in the future development of poetry and no poet can compete him.

Poetry Strategies:

Understanding modern poetry requires an understanding of the following:

(1) Free Verse

Most modern poems are written in free verse. Free verse has no fixed meter and no fixed line length or stanzas. The poet decides where the line should break based on how the poem should look on the page or where a natural break occurs.

(2) Literal and Symbolic meanings

The literal meaning of modern poetry often reflects everyday life. They everyday scenes are full of symbolic meaning.

(3) Diction

Modernism is a deliberate break forms that characterized traditional poetry. Whereas traditional verse relied on formal language, modern poetry uses informal, everyday speech.

Understanding of Poetry:

English language includes numerous words that main virtually the same thing. Each and every word has a slightly different pattern of sound and shade of meaning that will create a certain individual effect on the reader. As a result, the reader has the power of word choice. The sound of a word can be very important to the mood you are establishing in a poem. For example, compare these two separate stanzas.

The old man wrenched

His sack of guts

And hacked a cough

The senior detected

A murmur

In his intestines

We should be able to hear how the hard sounds of the first stanza contrast with the softer sounds of the second. The sound also have a great effect on the meaning and the melody of each live. The old man in the first stanza seems to be in a much worse state than the senior in the second stanza. The words hacked and cough echo the hard sound of the man’s coughing while the words murmur and intestines in second example reduce the senior’s illness to minor discomfort.

Connotation:

Connotations are ideas that are associated with a word. These associations go beyond the dictionary definition. The word ‘snake’ for example, may be defined as a member of the reptile family but this word has many associations like someone or something that is dangerous, low down or slimy.

In addition to having a connotation, some words have a symbolic significance due to past associations. For example, as a result of the Garden of Eden story, a snake is associated with evil, especially an evil tempter. In western literature and everyday usage, animals and colors have often been used as symbols, as have the reasons of year, times of day, geographic terrain, natural elements and natural and man-made objects.

Connotations are the overtones of word, their vibrations good or bad. Connotation is also to denotation as the figurative is to the literal. Connotation represents the things that a person associates with a word.

There are different kinds of meaning in English language. But there are two major kind of meaning to understand the poems or stanzas. These are denotative meaning and connotative meaning. Denotative meaning is a primary meaning of a word. For instance, bread is an edible made up of flour, yeast, water and so on. On the other hand, connotative meaning is a secondary meaning of a word as well as symbolic meaning of a word and cultural dimensions. Bread is a word that is used for money and it is the staff of life. It is through a piece of writing that a person discovers the intention of the writer. Tone controls how a person reads a word’s denotative and connotative values.

Connotation refers to the feeling or images a word evokes in the reader. Students are better able to recall any vocabulary term if they can make a personal association with it. Connotation means what may be differentiated from the former as suggested, implicit or intimated meaning.

The following term describes the concept of connotation/denotation that was explained by justice Windeyer in the Queen V. commonwealth Conciliation & Arbitration Commission; ex parte Professional Engineers Association:

In interpreting the Constitution, we must not restrict the denotation of its terms to the things they denoted in 1900. The word’s denotation becomes enlarged as new things falling with in its connotation comes into existence or becomes known. But the connotation or connotations of its words should remain constant in the interpretation of the constitution. Words would have borne in 1900 so we are not to give word a different meaning from any meaning. Law is to be accommodated to changing facts. It is not to be changed as language changes.

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The dictionary helps a lot to see a series of meaning that a word has acquire since it inception. These meanings are the word’s connotations. When words have several connotations, a person must rely upon its context to derive its meaning. For example, the word blue has gathered different connotations. First, blue refers to the color. There are also dress blues, a term referring to a military uniform. Blue can also mean depressed or melancholy and it also means the musical genre. The word blue also appears in the common expression “blue in the face” and “out of the blue”.

So, a word blue ha quite a lot of meaning packed into it. Many other word carry a list of connotative meanings as well. A port is better able to learn as many connotative meanings as possible by using words with several meanings in his poetry. He can broaden the scope of his work and can also help the reader to reach a more diverse population.

2.7. History of Connotation:

In medieval literature, there are two major sources of connotation that are native and foreign. The former refers to potential associations inherent in words due to their Germanic pagan links and the latter to the associations which learned loanwords bring in the train. Alliterative revival which led to a different vocabulary being used in each period, naïve connotations for word in Middle English are difficult to detect. So to consider the possibility of native connotation it is better to take the Anglo-Saxon period. It is closer to the Germanic background in time, and it literature seems to spring from a more unified cultural tradition than that from the middle English period.

We are left on individual word which may have connotations. Many of the words used in old English poetry are Germanic stock and as such they may have carried pagan heroic connotations with them. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was believed that old English poetry was essentially Germanic and heroic in spirit so the words of the poems were interpreted as though they carried pagan connotations.

It was seen that pagan connotations for Anglo-Saxon words are replaced by Latin ones. It is easier to prove a Christian Latin association than a pagan heroic one, on one ride because of the nature of Latin language and on other because no pagan Germanic poetry survives.

2.8. Importance of Connotation:

The word’s connotative meanings don’t explain themselves for systematic explanation but they are generally work on particular words that surround them. E.g. Everybody knows that ‘good’ is used to describe the high quality, positive, approved of or appreciated things. But it has also some additional meanings. In an utterance such a ‘she’s rally a good person’, It connotes someone who is generous, kind, thoughtful, honest and reliable. When we say ‘she’s a really good student’, the connotation shifts in the direction of brought, motivated, hardworking, organized, cooperative and so on. For describing good story, the word ‘good’ means interesting or involving. In other words, what makes a person ‘good’ is not the same set of qualities that makes a student ‘good’, or a story ‘good’. And of course, ‘good’ does not mean good at all in a sarcastic tone. A good dictionary can be of some help here. It provides guidance to the teacher as well a extensive and intensive experience with texts. It is finally by seeing and hearing words in actual contexts of use and by assimilating other words. It means that learners will be able to seek their connotative meanings. And hearing is important. Knowledge of a language’s sound system is really necessary in speech and is also essential in reading particularly in reading of poetry.

Connotations are changing the course of history and of human knowledge. It will point out the relation between connotation and designation. It has seen that if the people behave in a way that makes for fame or infamy, the names acquire decided connotations. And if the names are used very much in contexts the emphasize this connotation than these connotations become so slandered that the proper names can become general terms. Thus the boarder line between connotation and designation is neither sharp nor static. Poetry is the best place to study word connotation. For practical purposes, we should view the advertisements (good or bad) for cruder and simpler examples. For instance, in industrial products, we should keep in mind key word in advertising slogans and note connotation. What is meant by injunction to be a “Dawn Girl” to have “that creamy look” to wear a “Danto Sweet Smile” to develop an “English complexion”? These terms may designate and it is their connotation. There are good reasons for this. May be that car, hair lotion and whiskey actually does have, not only the characteristics designated but also the characteristics connoted.

For a complicated study, it is instructive to look among advertisements for terms with a scientific connotation and this term carry with them on intimation that the product is result of laboratory research or approved by a doctors.

The impression that a word gives beyond its defined meaning, refers to connotation. Connotations may be universally understood or may be significant only to a certain group. Both ‘horse’ and ‘steed’ denotes the same animal, but ‘steed’ has a different connotation that it deriving from romantic narratives in which the word was often used. 2nd example about the word ‘home’, it means that the place where one lives, but by connotation, it suggests security, family, love and comfort.

Consonance occurs is poetry when words appearing at the ends of two or more verses have similar final consonant sounds but have final vowel sound that differ, as with ‘stuff’ and ‘off’ words and images that might be used in poems hold meanings, feelings and Connotations which might provoke different clues that people find but it does not mean that a person is exactly saying about a poem. The personal response is important in understanding the literary judgment and close analysis of text.

Role of Connotation:

Connotation meaning refers to the features of word and it also refers to one’s reaction to it, that is its emotional content. For example, A nastier connotation has seen in the word ‘slimy’ rather than a word ‘silky’. The following are described the two line of poetry, one being a denotatively equivalent but connotatively contrasting version of the other.

Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.

(‘Ode to Autumn’, Keats)

Time of fog and ripe productivity (after, Wallwork, 1969)

There is nothing objectively ‘poetic’ about word like ‘mists’ or mellow but we have a strong experience of these words. It is difficult to remember that their sweet and pleasant sound qualities are only created by social evaluation. Words can measure and represent their connotative meaning.

An idea related to the denotative and connotative meaning of words is category and function shift. This heft occurs when words did not have development previously but now they are used. For example, the word paper began as a noun, it means the sheet of pressed plant fibers you write upon. Then it acquired verb capabilities for use in a sentence e.g., He will paper her mirror with love notes. Paper can also be used as an adjective, such as in the phrase “paper plate”. The word paper changed categories from noun to verb to adjective without changing spelling. It changed functions too because nouns, verbs and adjectives play different roles in sentences.

For romantic poets, poetic meter performs a similar function like the purely formal element of poetry. It can either provide clear, denotative meaning or it can carry follow well known techniques for conveying the connotative meaning. This element follows patterns of compositional practice, convention and deliberate effect and carriers with it patterns of implicit connotation similar to those perceived in absolute music. Wordsworth most famous work on poetics, the “Preface to the Lyrical Ballads”, demonstrates not only his concerns about these contractual conditions but also his conception of their meaning. He also insisted on writing the theoretical “Preface”. He felt that his readers might accuse him of breaking the unspoken agreement of comprehensibility between the poet and his readers. His attempt to deflect criticism for “Prosaisms”, places where poetry becomes too much like prose, demonstrates this anxiety most clearly.

Winters describes poetic theory, its concision, lyric but he explains that poetry is the highest linguistic expression, in addition to the denotative aspects of words emphasized in forms of writing, poetry also makes particular use of connotative ones, the two together composing the ‘total content’ of language. The purpose of poetry is to describe experience as precisely as possible connotation in poetry acquires a ‘moral’ dimension and to preserve clarity, connotation or feeling must be carefully controlled.

Levels of brain to understand connotation:

When reading a poem by a person, the brain works on several different levels:

It responds to the sounds

It responds to the words themselves and their connotations

It responds to the emotions

It responds to the learning of the world.

Poetry becomes a good source of learning through this process. It helps how to read literature in general. All the other genres have elements of poetry within them. Learn how to read poetry in a good way and it is the only way to become a more accomplished reader. Emily Dickinson who claimed that reading a book of poetry (by a poet) made her feel “as if they top of {her} head were taken off.”

Study of Meaning of Context Clues:

There are many methods for findings word meaning. The method of studying word meaning which is described under this heading is by using context clues. Context refers to the words and ideas in the text surrounding a word. This text elaborates clues to the meaning of individual words. Context also helps to understand how meaning of the word is being used according to the author’s point of view. Meanings of the words may be denotative and connotative. Denotative meaning is often found in dictionary definitions but connotative meaning of the words has both positive and negative effect on the word meaning. Look at the example: the words demure and Prim both have same meaning that is shy. However, Prim has negative connotation of being strict or remote. Demure has positive connotation of being sweet or innocent.

It is also found that the additional meaning is part of the word’s contextual meaning. It appears as a result of the word’s correlation with others. Connotation is one of the key so the power of words. In a literary text, the most innocent looking word can achieve the most vivid connotations. One of the components of a word’s meaning is its emotive component. Emotive connotations are rendered by the emotional or expressive counter part of meaning.

It is also very important to describe that affective connotations of a word can be within its romantic structure registered in its dictionary meaning.

E.g: Fabulous, stunning, smart, terrific and the like have special emotive meaning fixed in dictionaries.

E.g: He’s very rich.

He’s fabulously rich.

Many words hold an emotive meaning only in a definite context. In that case, we say that a word has a contextual emotive meaning.

So, we can conclude that affective connotations of a word are peculiar to it either on the pragmatic or systematic level.

2.12. Role of connotation is culture and society:

Different words have personal and cultural associations which can be subjective, contribute to their meaning. These additional meanings are known as connotations. We can also talk of affective, emotive, attitudinal or expressive meaning. In this example, we have seen that the word ‘man’ has denotative meaning that is ‘adult male human being’ but its connotations are virility, bravery and aggression. The personal and cultural aspects of the wor4d are brought in expressions like that’s what I call a man! Or act like a man but the ‘man’ where refers to after doing brave deed, it means that connotations of word may differ according to the society in which the people use it. For example connotation of the word ‘police’ means reliability, helpfulness, friendliness and protection while some persons in a society take it as harassment, arrests, aggression, obstruction and injustice etc. it is necessary to define the terms when we translate. The people have different awareness about the political term like labour, depending on the politic of individual.

Connotations are difficult to understand than denotation and much more variable and culture bound. For example snow may appear beautiful who have never seen it but the people who live in cold countries where the snow is falling. So the word snow have negative connotation according to this context. The Dog is in western society as a man’s best friend but for Arabs and Hindus this animal take as a pet. For the pareses, people take dog as a sacred animal. Words may have the same denotative meaning but the connotative meaning varies from person to person. For instance, woman and lady both denote ‘adult female human being’ but the word lay has connotation of good breeding and social graces that are absent from women.

Some words are always positive like generous, courtesy and masterpiece but others are always negative like rubbish, dirty, thief etc. the one thing is that negative words are not obviously negative but they are marked as derogatory or disparaging in dictionaries. Some words can be both positive and negative according to context. In English, the adjective inquisitive may take as a healthy desire to learn but on the other hand, it takes as an unhealthy or annoying keenness to pry. The word respite is a Spanish word which means on one side respect and on the other hand, it means fear. Translators and language learners should know about the different connotations according to the context

2.13. Connotative meaning through language and culture:

Language and culture are deeply interrelated with each other. Language is the vehicle of cultural manifestation. Some words have different motions and cultural values in different languages. That is to say, “Many foreign words which appear to have an equivalent basic meaning in the learner’s L1 are nevertheless different because of their different connotations.” (Laufer, 1990, p.582). Lado (1972) defines these words as culturally loaded words “Lexical totems which have similar primary meaning but widely different connotations in two languages” (p. 285). For example the word old means people are addressed so old in English but in Chinese, this word take as old + surname of surname + old. This is the difficult area of vocabulary acquisition as the “tendency of the learner will to transfer the L1 connotation in to L2” (Laufer, 1990, p. 582).

English and Chinese are two different languages because these two languages show two distinct culture and ideologies. Chinese culture values harmony, tradition, authority, group solidarity etc while western cultures value individualism, uniqueness, creation, adventure etc. (Jia Yuxin, 1997). Different political and social system through Chinese and western cultures have different understandings of certain political and ideological issues. Moreover, English is neither an official language nor a lingua franca in china. Chinese EFL learners find it difficult to access the cultural aspect of English. They have few chances to communicate with native speaker of English.

Liu & Zhong (1999) conducted the study of show that certain words have different cultural connotations in Chinese and English. Such as old, propagandas etc. they tested Chinese EFL learners to see whether their judgment on word used in a specific English context is proper or not and their studies pointed out the Chinese learners perception of whether a word is used properly with specific English contexts deviated from that of native speakers of English.

2.14. Emotional meaning of connotation:

Connotations also provide emotional power to the word so much that people will fight and die for them. G.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards were the first scholars to consider the misunderstandings that result from the failure of communicators to know that their subjective reactions toward will be a product of their life experience. For example, Mellissa’s dog dies and she tells Trish about it. Trish’s understanding of a massage depends on the feelings of him about pet and death. Mellissa who sees dogs as truly friends, may be intending to communicate her extreme grief. Trish who has never had a pet and doesn’t especially care of pets in general or dogs in particular, may miss the emotional meaning that Mellissa has. For this reason, Connotations can be used effectively to increase the emotional appeal to your message. Language also serves as a bridge between human being and the word of sense data. The denotative meaning of the word ‘snake’ is the perception of the sense data that makes up the snake. The connotative meaning of the expression “Look! A Snake!” is described according to the perception of Mellissa and her grandfather. This expression which they both shared, was a bridge between Mellissa’s perception and her grandfather. If they did not speak the same natural language then she wouldn’t share the connotative meaning of the word ‘snake’. Since they do share in the conventional connotative meaning of the expression, she can “cross over” to he grandfather’s perceptual word by using it. Words serve as connotative bridges. Mellissa and her grandfather were unsuccessful in seeking a visual perception of the snake. So words are also denotative bridges. They connect us with real things by means of understanding and processing sense data.

2.15. Connotation in semiotic modes:

The term connotation is used in so many ways. John Stuart Mill described words that have different meanings but he focused on two kinds of meaning. For instance, the word ‘white’, firstly, denotes the class of white things or as snow or paper or the foam of sea. But its abstract concept has connotative meaning like whiteness, virtue etc. the most importance approach in semiotics has been that of Roland Barites, who was a key player in Paris school structuralist semiotics of the 1690’s and 1970’s. Barthes argued that different ways of expressing the same concept can have different meanings because the same concept can be expressed in different languages. He developed his approach to denotation and connotation not in relation to language and applied the term connotation to semiotic modes other than language.

2.16. Role of vocabulary in understating connotative meaning:

Lexis & lexical phrases have come to play a very important role in language teaching & learning. Lexis has become more important than structures teacher have noticed that if a person does not know certain words and expression he/she will find it very difficult to express what he/she wishes to say. Many researchers agree that lexis is at least as important as structure, because it is using worng words & not wrong grammar that usually breaks down communication. Mistakes in lexis much more often led to misunderstanding & may be less generously tolerated outside classroom than mistakes in syntax.(Carter 1987 : 145)

Taylor (1990 : 1 ) emphasized the essentiality of vocabulary knowledge.

“In order to live in the world, we must name it. Names are essential for the

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