The Human Condition Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

Lisa LawHUMAN CONDITIONQuestion: "It means they were human"How have the texts you have studied in Area of Study: the Human Condition contributed to your thinking of what it is human.Word count: 1945The human condition is the experience of all elements of human existence. The susceptibility to endure both happiness and sadness is one of the elements that respond to our questioning of what is human. This is examined by the contrast of exhilaration depicted in both John Keats's poem "On First Looking At Chapman's Homer" and in the photograph "Bondi" by Marc Bok in the stimulus booklet and the depression in the film "Lantana" directed by Ray Lawrence and the poem "Preludes" by T.S. Eliot.John Keats poem "On First Looking at Chapman's Homer" displays the human capacity for happiness through its structure, images and tone. To expose his joy and inspired feelings about Chapman's translation of Homer, Keats had used the form of a Petrarchan sonnet to communicate how profoundly the revelation of Homer's literature had affected him. The use of this structure allows a strong contrast from his neutral tone in the octave to the thrill and excitement in the sestet.In the first line, "realms of gold" symbolise the voyaging of discovery and to the world of literature and imagination, valued as highly as "gold". However, Keats use of the modifier "goodly" reflects his satisfaction only of those "kingdoms" and "states". Keats' tone of neutrality in terms of these experiences is established through the drowsy consonance of the "l" in "travelled in the realms of gold" and the assonance of the long and rounded vowels in "goodly states and kingdoms seen".The responders sense his appreciation of "deep- browed Homer" and his acknowledgment of the "fealty" to such ancient works but the tone and structure of this first section reflects monotony in Keats' studies. The final line "Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold." introduces a shift in tone with sharper consonances and rhyme.The adverb "then" links us to a new scenario of accelerating exhilaration after reading Chapman's translation and is particularly effective as it provides a smooth transition from the octet to the sestet leading to a crescendo of awe.To allow the responders to understand his feeling he uses two similes which strengthen and enrich Keats' excitement, evoking us to sense his feeling. In addition, the syntax use of "felt I" instead of 'I felt" emphasis his enthusiasm and vitality. In the first simile, the ecstasy of reading Homer is compared with an astronomer discovering a new planet as it "swims" into its view. This probably alludes to Hershel's discovery of Uranus, a fairly recent phenomena for Keats.The poem culminates with another simile "like Stout Cortez when with eagle eyes stared at the Pacific". His sense of breathless and amazement is transmitted by the imagery of "eagle eyes" as he "stared" in silence. The explorers' speechless state is reinforced by the use of dashes conveys an...

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