From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Upon Julia's Clothes

Upon Julia's Clothes

  

by Robert Herrick

Upon Julia's Clothes Theme of Versions of Reality

In "Upon Julia's Clothes," the speaker's descriptions of Julia's outfit get progressively weirder as the poem develops. At first clothes are just that—clothes—but then they liquefy (3), become a "vibration" (5), and finally are able to glitter (6). Silk is no longer silk by the end, or at least not any silk that is immediately recognizable. So the reality of Julia's outfit gets morphed into a surreal representation of the speaker's all too real feelings for our girl.

Questions About Versions of Reality

  1. What's the deal with Julia's clothes? Are they really glittering, flowing, turning to liquid? 
  2. What do you think Julia's really wearing? Something gorgeous? Or is that all in his head?
  3. Is Julia real? Is she a figment of the speaker's imagination? The author's?

Chew on This

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

There's nothing real or definite about this girl or her outfit. Herrick's poem is all about how we see objects under the influence of emotions and in very strange ways.

The speaker of "Upon Julia's Clothes" is totally self-centered, bordering on solipsistic. Reality for him is all about what and how he sees the world, nothing else.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement