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Themes

We aren't just individuals—we are part of a larger society, and John Donne won't let you forget it. Still, "The Sun Rising" is a lot about a speaker's desire to (even temporarily) escape the responsibilities and restrictions of the outside world and just experience his love. You know, without all the meddling from friends and family.

Questions About Community

  1. What different elements of society show up in the first stanza? Do you see a pattern to the speaker's list?
  2. What do you think is more important: society (meaning economies, governments, scientific discovery) or individual love? How would you argue for or against the speaker in this regard?
  3. Do you think Donne's illicit marriage might have to do with his feelings about society's encroachment on love? How so?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The speaker says it's not just Virginia—the whole world is for lovers. The speaker feels that lovers are above all other members of the community: workers, kings, students.

The speaker believes that the outside community (starting with the sun, but including society) will only work to spoil his love. He wishes they would all just disappear.

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