On the grasshopper and the cricket by John Keats

On the grasshopper and the cricket is a poem written by John Keats which deals with the cycle of life and nature. It is a Patriarchal sonnet, as it is divided in an octave and a sestet. Generally these two parts oppose each other. This poem was written on December of 1816 and is based on Aesop’s fable The ant and the Grasshopper. The first octave refers to the grasshopper who jumps “from hedge to hedge”, having a delightful summer. The sestet refers to the cricket beside the stove, in the cold winter, when there is no life and all is static.

The author uses some words such as “hot sun”, “summer luxury”, “pleasant weed”, “delights”, to convey the idea that the octave refers to summer. The voice describes the grasshopper enjoying the summer from beginning to end, “jumping from hedge to hedge”.

We can see that the author alludes to winter in the sestet, by words such as “frost” “lone” “silence” “stove” “drowsiness”  to make winter more delightful by changing the order of the word “never”, to emphasize the fact that in summer everything is dark and sad, but there is something of joy. This inversion is to highlight that there is always cheerfulness in every moment. The creak of the cricket emphasize the idea that life is not over, that it is still alive.

The voice is present in the poem, when it says “one” because that “one” can be anyone. The tone of this poem is reflective
The grasshopper and the cricket symbolize the young part of life and happiness. The cricket symbolizes the last years of life, the “winter”, because during winter there is no life. But there is a “cricket” which makes old people to continue enjoying life.

Text book solutions

1.Discuss with your partner the following definition of a poem.
A poem is made of words arranged in a beautiful order. These words, when read aloud with feeling, have a music and meaning of their own.

Ans. The statement is true. Poetry is really the magic of words and sound. So when these words are read, they give a music of their own. This is there not only in rhythm and rhyme, it is there in the order of the words too.

2.The Poetry of earth’ is not made of words. What is it made of, as suggested in the poem?
Ans. The poetry of earth is made of sounds.

3.Find in the poem lines that match the following.
(i) The grasshopper’s happiness never come to an end.

(ii) The cricket’s song has a warmth that never decreases.
Ans. (i) he has never done with his delights.

(ii) The cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever.

4.Which word in stanza 2 is opposite in meaning to ‘the frost’?
Ans. The word is ‘warmth’.

5.The poetry of earth continues round the year through a cycle of two seasons. Mention each with its representative voice.
Ans. The seasons are summer and winter. The summer’s representative voice is – grasshopper’s.

The winter’s representative voice is – cricket’s.


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