Wordsworth - michael"

Since this is a long, narrative poem, begin by writing out a plot summary in your notes.  (Be sure to write down key line numbers for reference.)  What key ideas or issues does the plot summary raise?  Also, refer to the questions I shared on the first day of class about reading poetry: For example, who is the speaker?  How would you describe the meter? What are the poem's themes?

Be sure to read the footnotes and the Wordsworth bio info.

Also, see the Bible: Luke 15: 11-32.  This story of the prodigal son will give you a snapshot of the poem and a framework for reading it.  "Michael" can be thought of as an adaptation of this story.

SOME CONSIDERATIONS (Note key line numbers for reference.)

1. Think about the relationship of Michael and Luke as well as a parallel relationship between the speaker and the reader.  (Michael and the speaker as shepherds/Luke and the reader as sheep)  Describe these relationships and think about what they reveal about the poem's meanings.

2.  Following footnote #1, articulate the poem's themes: the importance of property and family/domesticity AND parental affection and love.  Also, is "hope" an important idea in this poem?  Related to these are the subject of the poem: poor country folk.

3.  How does the poem's language and meter (blank verse) support the ideas suggested above?

4. Why are the pile of stones and oak tree important symbols in the poem?

5.  What are the roles of nature and God in the poem?