Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Posted for Yiwei Song

Yiwei Song
HUMN 224 -01
Jan 25th, 2016
The Punctum - Close Reading

The reason why Sappho’s poems can be spread and prolonged for centuries without fading
or losing its specialty, is because she did not pay attention to words and phrases with
characteristics of such era. Instead, she concentrated only on expressing intense and sincere
emotions, the “over-labeled” words to sappho’s work has showed its maximum value in her
poems. When poem has not undertaken so much humanistic, academic, technical and
expressive missions, emotion is more widely used in writers’ self-consolation.

The ancient Greek when Sappho lived was famous for respecting humanity and advocating
freedom. However it was also an indisputable fact that women were under repression by
then. The sexual inequality has appeared in time Sappho lived and women’s voices have
been constrained and deprived. But Sappho could describe female-typical life experiences
and emotions based on her own life field to express female feelings through her sincere love
and thematic chanting.

The poet firstly affirmed the objective reality and genuine beauty of love.
Here she gave great prominence to admitting love and celebrating love by endowing love
with proudly saying “ for a boy!”. This seemed as the writer’s declaration of love. There is a
girlish sentimental love. Useless, Sweet mother,

Sweet mother
How can I weave my web now?
Dazzling Aphrodite tamed my desire
For a boy!

She wrote that the girl in her first awakening of affection was fettered and troubled by love,
the coquetry in front of mother, asking for help, anxiety and happiness of the stirrings of
love. There was the love for her pupils. Because of Sappho’s talent and her influence, many
young girls gathered in her school receiving her education. They fell into company with
each other reciting poetry, dancing, and singing, playing music, and wandering intimately.

Besides, the poet has extolled love in different fields. Such as Sweet Apple and Abandoned
illustrates the love to her students.

The dedicated instruction to her pupil was an example to show the poet’s tireless and
unselfish love, even her love for female virginity. In Virginity (230,109B,131 D)

Virginity you have abandoned me!
Where have you gone?
I will never return to you, no,
I shall never return
to you!

The poet did not avoid describing some bashful topics by then like the virginity. She
depicted that the virginity was away and gone forever, which implied the critical moment of
women’s life but also reminded women to treasure themselves and cherish their life.

Various emotions displayed in poems which are surrounded with “love”. It has been usually
described with strong senses of depth, touching sadness and great fineness. The poem has
fully showed the female poet’s exquisite feelings for the life, and the smooth depiction of
her own emotions. It is also a reflection of female feelings in the level of composition.

Personally I like But I Sleep Alone (Edm. 62) most of the most,

And like the hour
The Moon and the Pleiades have gone
And I,
I sleep alone.

It is a very short and sad little song, yes I would rather call it a song than a poem. I have
visualized the scene so well as I read through every sentence. As a female myself, and
sometimes a sentimental one, the repeated word “I” to me, in the poem, is my punctum.
That is basically what I mostly feel when I read her poems. A lot, a lot of punctum.

In Greece, the winter comes whenever seven stars falls to the horizon line. Sappho
mentioned about seven stars and also she implied that it was in the winter. It is the
implication of the seven stars’ artistic image in the mythology, as well as her solitary and
weary mood.

There is hidden desolation and loneliness when the moon has set away and stars have faded
out. In the quiet still-night, how solitude and lonely the poet is,when staying alone in the
room with the approaching of winter coldness! The poet’ helplessness and sadness at this
moment can be imagined. Definitely the lonely poet tossed and turned and could not fall
asleep. What was she expecting and waiting for? It seemed embarrassed and hard to say, but
she still could not help looking forward, waiting and suffering. The simple sentence
presented the poet’s subtle feelings of twisting in her mind.

Female sentiment in Sappho’s poems is an important signal of human awakening and
culture. The praise of love and expression of affection to some degrees are the essential
characteristic of how literature is called literature, and is the literature descriptions which
people has taken granted in current society. But if we see from the source of literature, it is
such easily to find how valuable that Sappho,who lived in two thousand and six hundred
years ago, had this kind of emotional experience and expressions. It has presented human
beings’ initial experience and confirmation for their own emotions and feelings, and it is the
revival and wisdom of human beings.

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