Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" is not written in a specific, named form. But that doesn't mean it isn't formal. The poem follows a very strict structure of its own making and shows remarkably...

Speaker

John Donne speaks this poem himself. Now, that's a bold and potentially risky statement. It's often a fatal trap to confuse a poem's speaker with the poet his/herself. In this case, though, we have...

Setting

The setting of the poem is the occasion mentioned in the title: Donne's parting with his wife before his long trip to continental Europe. It's helpful to picture Donne holding his wife Anne in thes...

Sound Check

Donne's poems are playfully complex. He likes to layer meanings of words and create double, sometimes even triple) meanings. So, it's no shocker that sound plays a big role here, too.A lot of that...

What's Up With the Title?

Donne doesn't beat around the bush here. He tells us right away what's up. This is a valediction. That's not really a technical distinction for a rigid form of poetry, but plenty of valedictory poe...

Calling Card

A metaphysical conceit is like a metaphor on steroids. Every metaphor is an attempt to connect two unlike things by some commonality, but a metaphysical conceit takes that idea to the extreme. The...

Tough-o-Meter

Donne is one tough nut to crack. What makes his poetry so unique is his deliberate attempt to connect the most far-fetched ideas and create seemingly impossible metaphors. Then he unravels those me...

Trivia

John Donne did jail time for his marriage to Anne More. He eloped with her when she was a teenager and it turns out her father (who happened to work for the government) wasn't thrilled. Maybe he is...

Steaminess Rating

You could read into some of the language Donne uses to describe a compass and find a way to make a few "that's what she said" jokes, but this one is actually pretty tame compared to some Donne poem...

Allusions

Donne gives a nod to a few scientific ideas. He talks about earthquakes, a natural phenomenon that was exotic and little understood by Englishmen of the seventeenth century. (9-10)He contrasts this...
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