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Remember

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Analysis of Rossetti's Remember

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Remember

  1. 1. Remember Christina Rossetti
  2. 2. Christina Rossetti With an Italian ex-patriot-turned-professor for a father (Gabriele Rossetti), a well-read mother, two siblings who became writers, and another (Dante Gabriel Rossetti) who became an influential painter and poet, the Rossetti household was a hot bed of intellectual and cultural discussions of all kinds (a steady stream of intellectuals frequently passed through the Rossetti home). The wide variety of available books in the house (Italian works, English novels and poetry, fairy tales, etc.) in particular bred in the young Christina Rossetti a love for literature, and a deep familiarity with the sonnet, a form she would utilise with tremendous success.
  3. 3. Themes • Dying • Love • Forgetfulness
  4. 4. Remember Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. Structure: A Petrarchan sonnet in iambic pentameter, consisting of an ABBA ABBA octave and a CDDECE sestet. 2 quatrains to the Octave Change of point-of-view at the VOLTA Then the sestet
  5. 5. Quatrain 1 Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. The focus of the poem is the opening word. We will explore the idea of memory. Repeated but strengthened suggesting the finality of death Euphemism for death 1st person focus 2nd character introduced couples can no longer share their dreams of the future with one another; place where darkness reigns Alliteration – ‘h’ Soft Hs make the section seem less sharp and demanding. Sets imperative tone
  6. 6. Quatrain 2 Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Reinforces the subject under discussion 2nd character seems to be controlling – not necessarily a bad thingNot asking much – no need to memorialise Consider : why are these words set in opposition? What is suggested? Romantic imagery
  7. 7. Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. The tone of the octave is contemplative and reconciliatory on the topic of death. The narrator can finally be at peace because she has renounced her desire for earthly pleasures, such as the physical presence of her beloved. She is even accepting of death, content to exist only in her beloved's memory. However, she has not yet made peace with the possibility that her lover will forget her; this form of death would be more painful than her physical expiration. The octave as a whole
  8. 8. The sestet Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. Highlights a new direction of thought 1st part of conditional sentence Imperative: strength Conditional is completed. The poem has totally changed direction. ‘had' and ‘sad' structurally highlights difference between remembering and forgetting.
  9. 9. The sestet Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. The narrator’s tone changes with the volta. The narrator even renounces the need to be remembered, which is ironic because the poem is titled “Remember.” She wishes for her beloved to be happy, even if that means forgetting her. The narrator sacrifices her personal desire in an expression of true love.
  10. 10. Remember "Remember" ultimately deals with the struggle between physical existence and the afterlife. Rossetti grapples with the idea of a physical body, which is subject to decay and death, and how it relates to an eternal soul.

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