The Sea, by James Reeves

The Sea, by James Reeves

Over the last week, Year 7 have been writing excellent essays analysing a poem called The Sea by James Reeves. Enormously impressed by the quality of the work, their teachers would like to share a couple of brilliant examples:

How does the poet present the sea in the poem?
In the poem, the writer presents the sea as loud. We see this in the quotation ‘and howls and hollos long and loud.’ The verb ‘howls’ suggests that the sea is shouting because that is how loud it is, and this is a use of zoomorphic language as humans don’t really howl. This makes the reader think about the sounds that they hear at the seaside.
The poet uses sibilance to describe the sea as calm. We see this in the quotation ‘he lies on the sandy shores’. The verb ‘lies’ suggests to the reader that the sea is calm and relaxed, almost as if it was sleeping. This makes the reader feel that the sea can vary from being stormy to sleepy, which makes them feel intrigued.
Annabella, 7L

How does the poet present the sea in the poem?
The sea is presented as large and dangerous. The author describes the sea as “giant and grey”. The use of the adjective “giant” makes the reader think of danger and something overpowering, showing that the sea is strong and harmful.
The sea’s sound is presented as loud through the metaphor of the dog. The author says that the dog “howls and hollos long and loud” The use of the verb “howls” shows that the sea is howling and the use of the adjectives “long and loud” shows that the sea is howling loudly and repetitively. Furthermore, “howls” is an example of onomatopoeia to give the reader an idea of what the sea sounds like.
The sea’s movement is presented as changeable through the phrases “shaking his wet sides over the cliff” and “he lies on the sandy shores”. The use of the verb “shaking” shows that the sea is moving quickly and is throwing itself onto the cliff. However, later in the poem, the use of the verb “lies” suggests that the sea is calm and still possibly sleeping. This contrast of behaviour  shows that the sea is very changeable throughout the year. Furthermore, the sibilant sound in “shaking” makes the line flow like the water in the sea, giving the reader an idea in their head of what the sea sounds like.
My favourite part of the poem was verse 3, the lines “he lies on the sandy shores, so quiet, so quiet, he scarcely snores”. I like it because after two verses of saying how chaotic and aggressive the sea was, the author says that the sea is at last still  and calm. It shows that nothing lasts forever and that people and animals change as time goes on. I liked the repetition of “so quiet, so quiet” because it emphasises the change in character and the rhyme of “shores and snores” because it adds flow to the poem like water in the sea. The sibilant sound in “shores” also adds the flow. The lines make me think of a still sea and a calm body of water.
Ceridwen  7H

How does the poet present the sea in the poem?
I think that the sea is portrayed as powerful. This is shown in the quotation 'giant and grey'. The adjective 'giant' often implies something great, big and dominating. In many Nordic myths, giants are loud, terrifying creatures that stomp  around, looking menacing and eating people. Therefore, the adjective 'giant' will most likely make the reader feel slightly intimidated by the sea.
However, I also believe the sea is presented as lonely. This is implies by the quotation 'howls and hollos.' The verb 'howls' shows this because in many popular stories a lone wolf howls at the moon. This phrase also uses assonance; I think it makes a rather empty sound. 'Howls' is also using onomatopoeia. This affects the reader by making them feel empathy and pity for the sea 'dog'.
Sunshine J, 7L

Posted 27 March 2020


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