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A slumber did my spirit seal

The meaning of a text is not in the text itself but is created through interaction with the reader. Without someone to read it, a text is meaningless. Dependent on who reads it, different meanings can surface from the same text. The reader is strongly influenced by his former cultural and literary experiences which shape the ongoing reading process. There exists no universally true meaning William Wordsworth`s “A slumber did my spirit seal” consists of two stanzas rhyming abab. As soon as the reader recognizes that he is dealing with a poem certain expectations arise. He anticipates to be confronted with a special poetical language corresponding to the conventions of poetry. The reader is alert; he is now looking eagerly for those poetical devices. Fortunately his expectations are already confirmed in the first line of the poem. “Slumber” (1) is not used in everyday language and in the dictionary it is acknowledged as an old fashioned literary term. The syntax deviates from the standard as well; the poet uses “did seal” instead of “sealed” which would be the grammatical correct past tense used nowadays. The reader feels at ease because his expectations have been confirmed. But the reading experience has only just begun and the first problem for the reader emerges in the second line. The speaker of the poem claims to have “no human fears” (2). But what does that mean? Who is the speaker anyway? Is he a god-like creature who stands above the ordinary sufferings of mankind? Or even scarier, is he inferior to man, an uncanny demon from the dark underworld? The reader is not rewarded with a suitable answer; in the next two lines even further questions trouble his mind. Suddenly a “she” (3) is mentioned in the poem. There has been no reference to a female protagonist in the journey through the poem so far. The reader can impossibly made sense of he first stanza. He is completely lost. A point has now been r...

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A slumber did my spirit seal. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 18:58, October 31, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/5891.html