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The Sea by James Reeves

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Lena Pen

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of The Sea by James Reeves

Sound Devices
The sea is a hungry dog,
A
Giant and grey.
B
He rolls on the beach all day.
B
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
C
Hour upon hour he gnaws
C
The
rumbling, tumbling
stones,
D
And '
Bones
,
bones
,
bones
,
bones
! '
D
The giant sea-dog
moans
,
D
Licking his greasy paws.
C

And when the night wind
roars

E
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
F
He bounds to his feet and
sn
uffs and
sn
iffs,
G
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
G
And
ho
wls and
ho
llows
lo
ng and
lo
ud.
F

But on quiet days in May or June,
H
When even the grasses on the dune
H
Play no more their reedy tune,
H
With his head between his paws
I
He lies on the sandy shores,
J
So quiet
,
so quiet
, he scarcely snores.
J
Man and Nature
The Sea
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
Hour upon hour he gnaws
The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And 'Bones, bones, bones, bones! '
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.

And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollows long and loud.

But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.
Diction & Connotation
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his
clashing
teeth and
shaggy
jaws
Hour upon hour he
gnaws

The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And '
Bones
, bones, bones, bones! '
The giant sea-dog
moans
,
Licking his greasy paws.

And when the
night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the
stormy
cloud,
He
bounds
to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And
howls
and hollows long and loud.

But on
quiet
days in May or June,
When even the
grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy
tune
,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So
quiet
, so quiet, he scarcely snores.
Paraphrase & Summary
The sea is a hungry dog.
It is giant and grey.
He rolls on the beach all day.
With his teeth which make loud noises and his old jaws
Hour after hour he chews on
The rumbling stones
And ‘Bones, bones, bones, bones!’,
The giant sea-dog groans,
Licking his paws which are used to eat food.

And when the wind is loud at night
And the moon shifts back and forth in the clouds,
He jumps to his feet and sniffs around,
Shaking his wet side over the cliff,
And howls loudly.

But on days in May or June,
When the grasses on the hill of sand
Don’t sway back and forth in the wind,
With his head in between his paws
He lies on the beach,
The dog is very quiet and he scarcely snores.


Poem Structure
The Sea by James Reeves
This poem compares the majestic sea to a hungry dog. Reeves talks about the sea at different times of day and in different seasons of the year. He also uses many literary devices, such as an extended metaphor, to help the reader visualize the course of nature and the impossibility of interferring with the natural cycles of the sea. An untamed dog, left to its own devices, will do what it has to do to survive instinctively. This is also true of the sea.
Stanza 1: Reeves uses very strong words in the first stanza. With words like "clashing" and "gnaws", he shows the reader the extent of the dog's hunger.
The theme of the poem is the power of nature. As humans, we continuously interfere with nature with our advancing technology. Despite this, Reeves shows that nature ultimately prevails, giving to the world as it sees fit and taking what it needs as well. Although technology continues to rapidly expand, nature trumps humans in the end.
Theme
The sea is a hungry dog,
Giant and grey.
He
rolls on the beach all day.
With his clashing teeth and shaggy jaws
Hour upon hour
he
gnaws
The rumbling, tumbling stones,
And 'Bones, bones, bones, bones! '
The giant sea-dog moans,
Licking his greasy paws.

And when the night wind roars
And the moon rocks in the stormy cloud,
He bounds to his feet and snuffs and sniffs,
Shaking his wet sides over the cliffs,
And howls and hollows long and loud.

But on quiet days in May or June,
When even the grasses on the dune
Play no more their reedy tune,
With his head between his paws
He lies on the sandy shores,
So quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores.
Stanza 2: The tone of the poem is more positive in this stanza. Reeves uses words such as "bounds" and "howls" to show that the dog is not completely satisfied but is not as hungry as before.
Reeves writes the poem in third person omniscient. He uses this because most humans can relate to the poem while drawing from their interactions with a dog; however, many people might not have visited the sea.

The poem has three major shifts in the poem.
There is a stark contrast in the tones of the different stanzas.

The first stanza has a gloomy, dismal atmosphere.

The second stanza is much more positive with words such as "bounds", "sniff", and "hollows." There is more energy in this part of the poem.

The last stanza is very calm. The reader can almost feel the breeze and hear the tide on the shore.

Each stanza is about the ocean's behavior during different parts of the year: winter, fall or spring, and summer.
Stanza 3: Words such as "quiet" and "grasses" are used to develop the peaceful atmosphere. The imagery in this stanza is also very helpful to the reader because it develops the reader's feel for "The Sea."
Connect to Theme: The diction that Reeves shows the reader how the dog is feeling and therefore, influences the emotions of the reader as he/she reads the poem. This connects to the theme because it shows just how powerful nature can be and how the sea changes between the seasons of the year.
Concluding Statement
The message the poem gets across to the readers is that nature is very powerful and no matter what humans do to try to control it, it ultimately will win. Instead of trying to limit Mother Nature, enjoy it's beauty.
How much control do humans really have over nature?
Reeves uses many devices to allow the poem to flow better.

Rhyme: The rhyme scheme is very inconsistent. It changes between each of the three stanzas. This is very much how the sea is different in each of the seasons.

Onomatopoeia: He uses words like rumbling and tumbling, moans, and roars to let the reader actually hear the sounds the sea and its surroundings make.

Alliteration: This device is used widely in the second stanza with words like "snuffs" and "sniffs." These help the poem to flow.

Repetition: In the first stanza, "bones" is repeated multiple times. The third stanza has the phrase "so quiet" repeated twice. This is used merely to emphasize these words.


In this picture, we can see two elements clashing, water and air. The most important part of this artwork is to see the size of the tiny humans in the boat compared to the size of the waves or the air. This really captures the thought that humans are powerless when it comes to the course of nature.
Full transcript