When I Have Fears.... (338 words) Essay

When I Have Fears….

?When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be?
There are many aspects of the world today that give us
reason to overthink and be fearful. John Keats’, ?When I Have
Fears that I May Cease to Be,? discusses this and warns the
readers of what may happen if this is taken to an extreme. The
narrator goes through life until finally he understands the
inevitability of time and realizes the things most precious to

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In the first quatrain of the poem, Keats uses a substantial
metaphor comparing the gathering of grain with the gathering of
his thoughts. The speaker is concerned that he wont complete his
poetry. To die young is to die before one has the opportunity to
harvest the fruits of the mind that have been ?ripened? from old
age. Keats then goes on showing how the speaker doesn’t want to
die ignorant. The night’s starr’d face? (line 5) is symbolic of
the ultimate questions in a person’s life and the speaker is
fearful that he may die before he discovers them. The third
quatrain helps to discuss the transience of things. The ?fair
creature of an hour? (line 9) is probably a lover. The speaker is
addressing the lover but it is evident that she is not the main
concern. This unreflecting love the only love he may get.

?Then on the shore/ Of the wide world I stand alone, and
think/ Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink? (lines 12-14).

In Keats’ rhyming couplet he is saying that if the speaker has
fears, then he is alone. He is standing on the ?shore,? on the
edge, separated, and far apart from the rest of the world. The
things the speaker finds precious, ?Love? and ?Fame,? in the end
are insubstantial and dissolve to ?nothingness? because he never
did anything about them.

Thinking will lead to a person’s destruction. Being too
self-conscious takes away from living one’s life. Keats’ speaker
warns us that if we live in fear then this will lead to death
both physically and mentally.

keats when i have fears that i may cease to be
Poetry Essays


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