Study Guide

To Autumn Awe and Amazement

By John Keats

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Awe and Amazement

This ode is almost like a pep talk delivered to autumn. The speaker knows that autumn often gets short shrift in the catalogue of seasons, so he reminds her (and, maybe, himself) of its many wonders: the bounty of the harvest, the dropping of seeds that will become next year's flowers, and the symphony of sights and sounds at sunset. Strangely, autumn herself seems blissfully unaware of any need to be praised or appreciated by anyone. She wanders through the scenery and examines her work without concern or urgency.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. How many images of ripeness can you find in the poem?
  2. Judging by the actions of the personified figure of autumn, what effects does the season have on people?
  3. What other kinds of autumn scenes could Keats have added to the poem?
  4. Does the speaker appreciate autumn on its own merits, or does he only value the benefits that it provides to humans?

Chew on This

The poem's transition from mid-day to sunset parallels the transitions from summer to winter.

Despite the speaker's attentions, autumn neither wants nor needs his praise. Autumn's inaccessibility contributes to his awe.

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