“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we havealready done” (self-reliance and emphasis on the individual)
• Inspired by American history, lore and landscape. What inspires you to achieve?
• What gives life purpose? What is it that gives your life value or meaning? – self-expression, creativity, following a dream, serving humanity
• Think of a person you know or have read about who has led a life you truly admire. How has this person made a difference in the world? Describe his or her impact on family, community, or country.
• Sublime: in literature, things in nature or art that affect the mind with a sense of overwhelming grandeur and power; awe-inspiring; worthy of adoration and reverence; high intellectual or moral value. Generally, makes the speaker feel small in comparison. (ex. the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, the ocean)
• Psalm: a biblical poem that generally comments on the fleeting nature of life. It is meant to celebrate God and the afterlife. The speaker in this poem argues against life being “an empty dream” and urges individuals to live life with purpose and focus on goals.
Stanza Summary1. Life is not a dream - a dreaming soul is dead, the soul needs to engage in life.2. Life is real - death is not the goal of life; the soul does not return to dust (just the body)
Summary cont.3. The purpose of life is not sorrow or joy, but being a better person each day; action.4. “Art is long” - poetry lives forever, even though time flies. Human hearts are aware of death coming.
Summary cont.5. In the battle of life - don’t be a follower, be a leader!6. Don’t look to the future or get stuck in the past; live and act in the present.
Summary cont.7. Take great men as your example - leave a legacy, make a difference.8. Your actions might inspire a lost soul to do great things in the future.9. Labor and wait; always active in your life.
• What thoughts have you sometimes had about the purpose of life? How similar is your view to the speaker’s view? Do you live life to the fullest?
• -Look at the painting on pg. 337 and it’s title, “The Calm After the Storm.” How does the title of the painting connect with the theme in the poem? – poem urges readers to deal heroically with “storms” or difficulties and thus experience “calm”, or a sublime life. Also, references the shipwreck in lines 29-32