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ERIC Number: ED352662
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
John Milton's Rainbow: Sonnet XIX.
Scher, Amy
John Milton presented a wide spectrum of materials and ideas illuminating the literary landscape like a rainbow which critics and authors have been discussing for centuries. One example of the multiple layers of meaning in Milton's poems is found in Sonnet XIX, which can be useful for both forensic discussion as well as for composition instruction. This sonnet, later called "On His Blindness," utilizes paradox to challenge the reader and expand the limits of discourse. In this poem, words like "light,""spent,""talent" and "account" can be interpreted on several levels and in multiple ways. Paradoxical tension can also be discerned in the distinct differences between the opening octave and the concluding sestet, as the nearly solipsistic beginning of the poem is transformed into the opposite end of the spectrum. Also, the last two lines in the poem unexpectedly stand out, but these lines underscore the other paradoxical aspects of the sonnet. Traditionally, the sonnet has been taught in terms of comparison and contrast with Sonnet VII. For classroom use, however, a historical-cultural overview is suggested, and the sonnet itself suggests discussion in conjunction with composition instruction. This might entail group work--role switching, for example. In short, Milton intentionally organized a concert of words with more than a double sense of meaning, qualities of paradoxical language well suited for the composition classroom. (Sixteen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A