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The Chambered Nautilus

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by

Faith Burns

on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of The Chambered Nautilus

The
Chambered Nautilus

Literary Elements
& Devices
Examples of Romanticism
• Example of
Nature
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare (lines 2-6)
• Example of
Supernatural
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings (line 5)
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn (line 26)
• Example of
Growth of human potential
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell (line 12)
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shinning archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more (lines 16-21)

Literal Meaning of the Poem
In
The Chambered Nautilus
, the narrator is reflecting on the life of a nautilus (a sea creature, similar to a snail). Throughout its life, the nautilus would build a new chamber on its shell as it grew each year.
Symbolic Meaning of the Poem
Holmes is comparing the life of the nautilus to the life of human beings. The growth of the nautilus is related to the growth of human beings
The growth of the shell symbolizes the constant growth of humans.
In the final stanzas, Holmes thanks the nautilus and hopes that he can learn a lesson from the ever-changing nautilus. As time passes and seasons change, he wants to enhance himself as a person.
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,"

Holmes is looking directly towards nature to learn things about life. This is a theme of Romanticism.
Metaphor
use of metaphor, or a direct comparison between two things. He uses a sailing vessel as a metaphor for the nautilus.
On page 311 he says "This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, / Sails the unshadowed main-- / The venturous bark that flings / On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings"
He refers to it as a ship of pearl which suggests not only its beauty but also its value as an organism and teacher.
Comparison between the growth of the nautilus that must "leave thy low-vaulted past" (p311) for a larger chamber to the growth and spiritual development of the human soul.
Allusion
found on both pages 310 and 311. Allusion is a reference within a work to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art.
In "The Chambered Nautilus", Oliver Wendell Holmes makes allusions to Greek mythology. He references Sirens and Triton on pages 310 and 311. These allusions to prominent figures of Greek mythology help reinforce great adventures reminiscent of the voyages of great, ancient Greek heroes.
Alliteration
Alliteration: repetition of consonant sound at the beginning of words.
"dim dreaming life was wont to dwell" (p 310)
"swift seasons" (p 311)
Personification
Examples of this personification include the idea that the nautilus has a “dreaming life,” its description as a “tenant,” its stealing with “soft step,” its ability to stretch out in a home, and the notion that it is a “child” with “lips.” Personification is important because it connects the nautilus with a human.
Apostrophe
direct address of an absent person or personified quality, object, or idea
"Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, / As the swift seasons roll / Leave thy low-vaulted past / Let each new temple, nobler than the last" (p 311)
He is using apostrophe to directly address the nautilus. The purpose of this is to attribute human qualities to the nautilus because he is directly addressing it as if it were a human being. This is a form of personification.
by
Abbey Mandracchia, Melissa Gomez, & Faith Burns
by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Full transcript