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In the round tower

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by

Karen Griffiths

on 30 June 2016

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Transcript of In the round tower

Rossetti said about her poem:

I
retain this little poem not as historically accurate but as written and published before I heard the supposed facts of its first verse contradicted.
The poem is based on a real event that is still hotly contested.

The Jhansi rebellion/uprising/mutiny found European military and their families under attack by militants.

Captain Skene and his wife died in this uprising. Initially, it was believed that they committed suicide in order to avoid execution, this was later dismissed and their deaths suggested to be at the hands of the mutineers.
A brief history
Look at the first stanza
A hundred, a thousand to one: even so;
Not a hope in the world remained:
The swarming howling wretches below
Gained and gained and gained.
Stanza 2
Look at the use of speech in this verse.
How many voices do we hear?
PALE - What impression does this word give?
Repetition?
Who says what?
The story of the poem
The poem tells the story of the final moments of Captain Skene and his wife. The story seems to have been strongly influenced by a letter published in The Times on 2 September 1857 - who did you feel empathy for?
In the round tower...
Rossetti
Read the letter!
" POOR Frank Gordon?
... kissed his wife, shot her and then himself"
NOW SCAN THE POEM - WHAT DIRECT REFERENCES DO YOU SPOT IN THE POEM TO THIS LETTER?
In the Round Tower at Jhansi, June 8, 1857
A very specific setting
What do you notice about this stanza?
Think about:
Function in story telling
Punctuation
Use of language
Narrative voice
Skene looked at his pale young wife.
‘Is the time come?’—‘The time is come.’
Young, strong, and so full of life,
The agony struck them dumb.
Stanza 3
Close his arm about her now,
Close her cheek to his,
Close the pistol to her brow—
God forgive them this!
Consider the use of repetition in this stanza
E Kent: The anaphora (repetition)of the word 'closer' in the third stanza sees them physically drawing together to the point where they are indistinguishable in terms of perpetrator and victim or husband and wife"
DO YOU AGREE?
Stanza 4
‘Will it hurt much?’ ‘No, mine own:
I wish I could bear the pang for both.’—
‘I wish I could bear the pang alone:
Courage, dear, I am not loth.’
Can you identify the different voices?
Again, what use does Rossetti make of repetition in this stanza?
What impression does this give of the partnership?
DRAMATIC?
TRAGIC?
Final Stanza
Kiss and kiss: ‘It is not pain
Thus to kiss and die.
One kiss more.’—‘And yet one again.’—
‘Good-bye.’—‘Good-bye.’
Comment on Rossetti's use of punctuation.
Comment on Rossetti's use of repetition.
Comment on the ending of the poem - how does it make you feel?
READ
THE
LETTER
OMNISCIENT NARRATIVE VOICE?
HOW DOES THE POEM EVOKE EMPATHY?
HOW DOES THE POEM DIFFER FROM THE LETTER?
What themes/motifs is Rossetti known for?
DIALOGUE
AFTERLIFE
DESIRE FOR DEATH
DESPAIR/RESIGNATION
‘DRAMATIC’ SITUATION
NATURE
PERSONAS
RELIGIOUS
ASSERTIVE VOICE
Which could you comment on in this poem?
WELCOME TO A LEVEL LITERATURE!
What are you expecting from this course?
9 texts
2 exams
2 course work pieces
Let's take a look at one of the texts you will study!
Before we start - take a look at the extract printed on the sheet you have in front of you.
WELCOME TO A LEVEL LITERATURE!
What's your favourite book and why?
Tell your neighbour!
Twelfth Night

She Stoops to Conquer

The Bloody Chamber

Dracula

Frankenstein

The poetry of Rossetti
+ course work texts x3
DO YOU KNOW WHO WROTE THESE?
HOMEWORK
Also on the website!
Full transcript