Grade 10 English, Unit 8, Reading II Climbing Exercises
The poem in question revolves around the recollection of a childhood memory by the speaker, wherein she recounts her experience of ascending an apple tree. The act of climbing is symbolically likened to ascending a staircase, each branch serving as a step in the metaphorical ascent towards a radiant town situated above. As the speaker progresses higher into the tree, she becomes cognizant of various architectural elements such as spires and domes, characterized by their luminosity and sparkle. Her determination remains unshaken as she navigates through the dense foliage, firmly resolved to reach the pinnacle of the tree on the current day. The poem effectively conveys a palpable sense of adventure, wonder, and an insatiable desire to explore the world from an elevated perspective, encapsulating the essence of human curiosity and the pursuit of elevated experiences.
High up in the apple tree climbing I go,
With the sky above me, the earth below.
Each branch is the step of a wonderful stair
Which leads to the town I see shining up there.
Wonderful: very good, pleasant, or a lot of fun
Stair: a set of steps leading from one floor of a building to another, typically inside the building.
Within this stanza, the speaker elucidates her ascent up an apple tree. The relative positions of the sky above and the earth below are perceptibly delineated, serving to contextualize her surroundings. Each branch, intriguingly, is likened to a step on a staircase, accentuating the notion of progression and upward motion. The objective of the climb becomes evident as the speaker beholds a resplendent town in the distance, signifying her ultimate aim or destination. In essence, this stanza evokes a profound sense of adventure, wonder, and a keen anticipation of arriving at a novel and enchanting locale, reflecting the innate human inclination for exploration and the allure of uncharted experiences.
Climbing, climbing, higher and higher,
The branches blow and I see a spire,
The gleam of a turret, the glint of a dome,
All sparkling and bright, like white sea foam.
spire: a tall pointed structure of the top of a building, of a church
gleam: to shine with a pale clear light
turret: a small tower on the top of a wall/building, especially a castle
glint: to produce small bright flashes of light
dome: a round roof with a circular base
sparkling: shining and flashing with light
foam: a mass of very small air bubbles on the surface of a liquid
In this particular stanza, the speaker persists in her upward journey within the tree, steadily ascending to greater heights. As she progresses, the branches respond to the wind’s motion, swaying to and fro. In the midst of her climb, the speaker’s gaze is drawn to the presence of a spire, a turret, and a dome, architectural features that radiate with a luminous allure. Their radiance and gleaming quality are compared to the sparkling brightness reminiscent of white sea foam. The stanza effectively captures the profound sense of awe and admiration experienced by the speaker as she beholds the beauty and grandeur of these architectural elements from her elevated vantage point. The imagery employed in this stanza serves to evoke an overwhelming sense of wonder and excitement, conveying the extraordinary nature of her journey and the captivating allure of the sights she encounters.
On and on, from bough to bough,
The leaves are thick, but I push my way through;
Before, I have always had to stop,
But to-day I am sure I shall reach the top.
bough: a large branch of a tree
In this stanza, the speaker articulates her uninterrupted advancement as she ascends from one branch to the next. Notwithstanding the density of the leaves that obstruct her path, she tenaciously forges her way through. The speaker acknowledges that in previous climbing endeavors, she had encountered the need to halt her ascent at some juncture. However, on this particular day, she is suffused with confidence, firmly convinced that she will successfully reach the zenith. This stanza conveys a palpable sense of resolve and sanguinity as the speaker surmounts obstacles and embraces the belief that her longstanding aspiration of attaining the tree’s utmost pinnacle will be fulfilled. It encapsulates the fervent anticipation and exhilaration that permeate her as she draws near to the culmination of her ascent.
Today to the end of the marvelous stair,
Where those glittering pinnacles flash in the air!
Climbing, climbing, higher I go,
With the sky close above me, the earth far below.
marvellous: extremely good; wonderful
pinnacle: the most important part of something
In this stanza, the speaker fervently conveys her eagerness to reach the conclusion of her climb, characterizing it as the “end of the marvelous stair.” She proceeds to depict the zenith of her ascent as an object that glistens and emits flashes into the atmosphere, thereby underscoring its captivating and enticing attributes. The speaker persists in ascending, continually accentuating her upward trajectory. She draws attention to the proximity of the sky overhead, symbolizing boundless expanse and limitless prospects. In stark contrast, she positions the earth far below, symbolizing a sensation of remoteness and detachment. This stanza adeptly encapsulates the fervor, determination, and the perspective of the speaker as she ascends towards her objective. The employed imagery serves to evoke a profound sense of wonder and the vastness of the world encompassing her.
The central theme of the poem revolves around the concept of exploration, adventure, and the inherent aspiration to attain greater heights. It eloquently captures the exhilaration and sense of marvel associated with the act of ascending a tree, coupled with the eager anticipation of encountering novel viewpoints and experiences. The poem delves into thematic elements of curiosity, unwavering determination, and the relentless pursuit of predefined objectives. Moreover, it subtly touches upon the dichotomy between terrestrial and celestial realms, accentuating the human desire to transcend commonplace constraints and to aspire toward extraordinary realms. In summation, the overarching theme of the poem underscores the innate human inclination towards discovery and the joy derived from the exploration of fresh possibilities.
The Figure of Speech Used in the Poem Climbing
The poem employs several literary devices to enhance its imagery and convey its themes effectively:
- Metaphor: The poem utilizes metaphor when the speaker compares each branch of the apple tree to the steps of a staircase. This metaphor underscores the speaker’s progression and ascent during her climb, emphasizing the structured and purposeful nature of her journey.
- Simile: The poem employs a simile when describing the shining objects visible from the tree as “sparkling and bright, like white sea foam.” This simile serves to create a vivid and visually striking image of the luminous and dazzling appearance of these architectural features, enriching the reader’s sensory experience.
- Personification: The branches of the tree are personified as they are described as “blowing in the wind.” This personification endows the branches with human-like qualities of movement and flexibility, thereby intensifying the imagery and instilling a sense of dynamism within the scene.
- Hyperbole: The poem incorporates hyperbole when the speaker expresses unwavering confidence in reaching the summit of the tree by exclaiming, “today I am sure I shall reach the top.” This hyperbolic statement magnifies the speaker’s determination and conviction, accentuating her belief in her capability to attain her goal, and imbuing her ascent with an air of unwavering resolve.
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