Word Search: A Way to Understand Tennyson's "Ulysses"
This assignment is aimed at encouraging students to look up the definitions of words they encounter in reading literature. Clearly, writers choose words carefully not only for the exact meanings of the words but also for the connotation of the words?and associated or extended meaning that the words might suggest. Good writers choose words that can stimulate readers? imaginations and words that appeal to a variety of interpretations.
This activity is one that students ought to go through on their own on an ongign basis if they want to gain a deeper understanding of literature.
Online dictionary use Meaning interpretation Journal writing
Text of Learning Exercise:
ENG 112 Online
Learning Assignment: Journal Entry
This assignment is aimed at encouraging you to look up the definitions of words you encounter in reading literature. Clearly, writers choose words carefully not only for the exact meanings of the words but also for the connotation of the words?and associated or extended meaning that the words might suggest. Good writers choose words that can stimulate readers? imaginations and words that appeal to a variety of interpretations.
Follow the steps of the assignment below based on the poem ?Ulysses.? Keep in mind that this activity is one you ought to go through on your own after this class activity if you want to really gain a deeper understanding of literature that you read.
1. For this journal entry focusing on Tennyson?s poem ?Ulysses? you will need to visit the WordSmyth website. A description of the site follows:
?Wordsmyth is an innovative and evolving language reference source that meshes the functions of a dictionary and a thesaurus with powerful and flexible search capabilities. Both the Wordsmyth Educational Dictionary-Thesaurus and the Wordsmyth web site reflect the philosophy that word meanings are not simply equations that one can get right or get wrong,
but rather grow out of and depend on specific uses and contexts.?
2. Choose five words from the poem below (I?ve highlighted several key words) and using Wordsmyth discuss more than just a single definition but also their connotations or connections. Consider the word choice and best possible meaning of the word considering the phrase or sentence within which you find this word used by Tennyson.
3. In a journal entry of approximately 200 words, consider the words you?ve researched and write an explanation for how the word is used and any other extended or expanded meaning you can derive.
4. Copy and paste the following Wordsmyth URL into your web browser:
5. Send your journal entry to me via email and also post it on the Discussion Board in the Forum entitled ?WordSmyth Forum.?
by Alfred Tennyson
It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me. I cannot rest from travel; I will drink Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades Vext the dim sea. I am become a name; For always roaming with a hungry heart Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men And manners, climates, councils, governments, Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,-- And drunk delight of battle with my peers, Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethro' Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move. How dull it is to pause,
to make an end, To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use! As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life Were all too little, and of one to me Little remains; but every hour is saved From that eternal silence, something more, A bringer of new things; and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself, And this gray spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought. This is my son, mine own Telemachus, to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,-- Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill This labor, by slow prudence to make mild A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees Subdue them to the useful and the good. Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere Of common duties, decent not to fail In offices of tenderness, and pay Meet adoration to my household gods, When I am gone. He works his work, I mine. There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail; There gloom thedark, broad seas. My mariners, Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,-- That ever with a frolic welcome took The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old; Old age hath yet his honor and his toil. Death closes all; but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done, Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods. The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks; The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends. 'T is not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars,
until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down; It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles, whom we knew. Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,-- One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.