Word Search: A Way to Understand Tennyson's "Ulysses"
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.
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.