“The River God” Analysis using SMILE: Poetry (English Literature)

“The River God” Analysis using SMILE: Poetry (English Literature)


The River God
Analysis Using SMILE – AQA Poetry (GCSE English Literature) We move on then to the “The River God”,
which is quite an interesting poem. I should tell you before I even start that this is
one of the few poems where you could literally go through in a thousand different ways. So
do check multiple meanings on this because the small points that I offer here will just
really be just a drop in the ocean. The amount that you can actually draw on this,
the amount of place it can take you are really, really very — the terms have a lot of different
meanings and images. So feel free to go through with other people and in your own pace. We start with the structure. We have varied
lines to effect the ebb and flow of the river. This is reflected there and it’s short,
long. It’s shorter and longer. If you look at it sideways, it’s kind of the ebb and
flow of the river or the way the river is moving. You got enjambment quite a lot all the way
through, just emphasizing certain words. Before we move on and this is quite interesting one
here where the lady was too bold to stop and we know that something not very good is going
to happen to her straight after that. It’s a first person, like a dramatic monologue
and a personification of the river actually talking to us. The control that the river
had, emphasizing the power and the title and it’s all in one stanza joined together like
a river would be without separate sections. Again, that’s a reflection on the meaning
and the unity there. One of the meanings – I have a lot of question
marks here because again, you can take it a hundred ways. You’ve got the power of
nature with what it actually does to the woman. “So I brought her down here”. Here, she’s
obviously drowned. Then the idea of the god and his likeness
is basically that it was lord or controller of humans in that way. It controlled them
and they died and it gives it kind of a god-like element. Meanings, we have seen again and again it
is like a warning. We have several instances of warnings. Those “who bathe too close
to the weir, contrary to the rules”; it’s telling them not to do it again. We got the
idea then in that kind of extension, are they sacrificing? We can kind of take the idea
there because it’s a river god and sacrificial acts to the gods are quite well-known and
quite well-trodden. The idea is that again, I brought it down here, “She lies in my
deep river bed”, that gives the idea of the secrets. Perhaps, also this idea of being
jealous of the people who actually stare into her and wanting to punish them in some way,
perhaps you can take that. One of the meanings again is timelessness.
We get this feeling even though she’s old. She’s got this again and “old” is repeated
again there and the sense of the long time. It’s slightly out of context there. The
idea is really, really stretched. This is something that has happened time and time
again. We got images of the river: the roughness
and the reediness and being smelly and all, etc. Again, repeated again, with “foolish
and smelly”, etc. That gives the idea of it being a river and a little bit dirty to
some extent. You got the idea of the death and corpse – “She
lies in my beautiful deep river bed”. Obviously, she’s lying there, dead. “Her golden,
sleepy head,” obviously, that she is sleeping and dead in the sense and the goldenness of
the river probably refers to blonde hair. We got the idea of beauty again in the golden
sleepy head and the idea of the beautiful lady. She’s a lady when actually referred
to and this one in particular is actually referred to. So you can kind of pick up the
idea of beauty there which contrasts with the river which again, it takes us back to
maybe why she’s jealous of the person. We got the repetition which we picked out
a couple of times already like lady, smelly, etc. Maybe the idea is repetitive because
if you look at a river and looked at one point and went back the next day, it would look
pretty much the same. So again, it gives us the idea of what we don’t know about the
river and the secrets that it actually conceals underneath. You got this idea of this lurking feel like,
it’s all I’m I maybe, it’s kind of sneaky, kind of just hanging around there and also
the words like “but” here, “where”, “but I can”, what she can do, “Oh will
she” and “Oh who would” there. They really use this kind of lurking, creeping
feel the whole way throughout the poem and that it’s a bit quite sinister in there;
real creepy in many sense. Here, you got the golden, the idea of the
metaphor there could mean perhaps something blonde. Also we got the fish floating here
is again an alliteration which makes it more memorable to the reader. Then the language
is personified the whole way through. This is the river talking to us seemingly. Some of the things that we are supposed to
think about, maybe the effect. It makes us think that perhaps nature is not always friendly.
Maybe nature here is a bit of an enemy and there is a classic, old YouTube video about
playing in rivers and the dangers of it. If I find the link, I will actually post at the
bottom. It is just the most creepy thing. It’s a world before my time but I colleague
of mine actually pointed it out. It was a government video, just kind of putting people
off rivers and had this creepy, death-like character. Just again, being almost like the
river in this case, but like I said, I’ll try to find the link and put out for you. The unpredictability of the river as well.
People kind of do things contrary to the rules and they end up drowning and this could happen
to anyone at anytime, just a slip or a weak wrist might just kind of end you being weak
from swimming. It kind of gives us history of water just
like the water kind of come pass and it’s water from our rivers that ends up in our
taps and maybe you can actually be thinking, is the water you are drinking, what’s that?
Actually at one point, it drowned someone. That is an extension there and the idea as
well of the sacrifices that are seemingly made in nature and not just in this river
but also in any large expanse of water and then, in my stretch, I was thinking about
tsunamis, but obviously we can take it however which you will. [End of audio – 06:21]
The River God Analysis Using SMILE – AQA Poetry (GCSE
English Literature) Page…1

local_offerevent_note October 21, 2019

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