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The Old Oaken Bucket- A Poetry Project Analysis

Lots of buckets.
by

David Holt

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of The Old Oaken Bucket- A Poetry Project Analysis

Introduction Voice Saying and Suggesting Visual Hook Directed, narrated, choreographed, filmed, cast, slept, animated, procrastinated and otherwise produced by David Holt. By Autumn King
and
David Holt Now, come up and write your observations on the board :) Oaken Bucket Analysis Denotation Allusion- 1st stanza Imagery A remembrance of Childhood First, try to find the buckets in the picture handout you have been given.
Then, please read carefully and
annotate the poem, "The Old
Oaken Bucket". Don't be shy! How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollection presents them to view!
The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
And every loved spot which my infancy knew!
The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,
The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell,
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well-
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well.

That moss-covered vessel I hailed as a treasure,
For often at noon, when returned from the field,
I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
The purest and sweetest that nature can yield.
How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing,
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.

How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,
As poised on the curb it inclined to my lips!
Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
The brightest that beauty or revelry sips.
And now, far removed from the loved habitation,
The tear of regret will intrusively swell,
As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
And sighs for the bucket that hangs in the well
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket that hangs in the well! Paraphrase I fondly remember all the places I knew in my childhood, but most of all I remember the bucket.
When I would come back from playing, it was my treasure, bringing cold water up from the well. Nothing could tear me apart from it, even now I remember that pitcher in the well. A little short, but... Tone- Reflective

Throughout the poem the speaker is looking back on his childhood with “fond recollection”.

Persona- A wise, older man who is pondering his life

This persona is very evident as through the speaker's reflection and the way he describes everything as though he has experience.

Irony-The bucket is described as “old” and “moss-covered” but is also the subject of the active verbs “arose” and “hangs”.

Even though the bucket is old and ancient it is still very functional and useful. The bucket still plays an active role in the speaker's life.

Point of View- 1st person

This point of view makes the poem more personal and relatable. "E'en" and "rude" are both old English words, "e'en" being a shortened version of "even" and "rude" simply meaning "common". Connotation The fact that the speaker hails the bucket as a treasure and uses words such as "rude", "cot" could indicate a somewhat poorer background and setting for this poem. "Fond", "loved", "pleasure" and "sweet" are all words with positive connotations, indicating how he recalls his childhood. Symbols The bucket is a symbol for the Speaker's childhood, as he is recalling it with relation to his childhood activities (returning from the field to it). It was also something constant, something he could always return to. Words This allusion to a country setting shows that the speaker is reflecting upon a simpler and pleasant time. He is longing for this blissful time. Diction The words “deep-tangled wild wood,” “bridge,” “rock,” and “cataract” all show that the speaker has faced many trials throughout his life but he overcame them. In the next stanza the words “purest” “sweetest” and “white-pebbled” represent the purity and innocence of the well and of childhood.
The bucket is described as “old oaken” and “iron-bound” to show that it is ancient but also very strong and durable. Because of the descriptor “moss-covered” we understand that bucket is a source of life and growth.
The main meaning of the poem comes from the subtle shifts in the diction of the last line in each stanza. The first stanza says “which hung” showing that the bucket was present in the speaker's past but played a very passive role. Then the bucket “arose” from the well, this shows that bucket began to play an active role in the speaker's past. In the last stanza the bucket “hangs” in the well. This demonstrates that the bucket is playing an active role in the present. The bucket can be described as omniscient and reliable because of this. Visual Imagery We see plenty of visual imagery throughout the poem, including nuggets such as "moss covered", "brightest" and "glowing". Auditory Imagery There is only one example of auditory imagery in the poem, with "sigh", in line 28. Tactile Imagery Much of the imagery in the poem is tactile, with multiple examples, such as "nigh", "seized", "coolness", "inclined" and many others. This makes a lot of sense, as many the poem is set in the narrator's childhood, and children learn primarily through tactile input. Figures of Speech Metaphor The phrase “With the emblem of truth overflowing” is comparing the bucket to a symbol of truth. Simile When the narrator refers to “that moss-covered vessel I hailed as a treasure”, he creates a simile which shows how valuable the speaker considered the bucket. Personification Occurs in line 27 "As fancy reverts to my father's plantation, and sighs for the bucket that hangs in the well”
Since fancy does not actually "sigh" the speaker uses this to demonstrate how much he longs for the bucket. Figures of Speech (Cont.) Metonymy Example: “tear of regret”A tear is closely associated to sadness so it is used to describe the speaker's regretful feelings. Overstatement The passages, “the purest and sweetest that nature can yield” and “not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it” are examples of the speaker exaggerating the purity and pleasure he receives from the well in order to demonstrate his fondness for it. Extended Metaphor The whole poem is an extended metaphor comparing the well to the speaker's fond childhood memories.
Sound Rhyme All end rhymes are exact. This helps to give the poem a musical quality. Rhyme Scheme ABABCDCDED Euphony The whole poem is filled with many more euphonic words rather cacophonic. These create a pleasant sound and contribute to the overall mood of the poem. Alliteration Examples include “wild-wood”, “the brightest that beauty”, and “old oaken”. These few alliterations add focus to these phrases and lend the poem an overall pleasant sound. Rhythm Our meter is anapestic in nature. This lends a very sing-song rhythm to the poem. Form Closed Form The poem has traditional patterns of rhyme and meter. This gives the poem clarity and emphasizes that the reflection of the poem is upon a simpler, traditional time 3 Stanzas Each stanza is made of 10 lines and by focusing on the last 3 lines of each stanza we can see the subtle shifts in the author's view of the bucket. Overall the form helps the poem to flow, be organized, and remain cohesive.
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