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The Flower by Alfred Lord Tennyson
“The Flower,” is a beautiful poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem depicts the fickle character of the human mind and how people are never ready to appreciate new things. They are biassed, and their opinions shift from time to time. What was once revered is now despised by the populace for no apparent cause.
The poet had sown a new seed and was hoping for a wonderfully blooming plant, and indeed, it did happen. However, the people surrounding him did not appreciate it and cursed the poet. However, it appears that they had a hidden interest in the plant, or at least the seed. So they steal the narrator’s other similar seeds and grow plants just like the Poet. Though the poet had done the same thing, it is now appreciated by all. But they get tired of it quickly and refer to the plant as a weed.
To paraphrase Tennyson’s poem, he is criticising people who dismiss his work, comparing it to useless and undesirable ‘weeds’ rather than lovely flowers, because he believes such critics have forgotten that he was the one who showed how to write poetry to so many others.
Summary of the Poem – The Flower
Essentially, the poet gives us an idea of how we view things that are new.
The poet uses a seed as a metaphor for the birth of something new, or what I refer to as an invention. He refers to it as a rare creation (occurring only once in a golden hour) and claims that it was a success (up there came a flower). At first, many did not trust him and continued to assume his new invention was useless, implying that the idea was actually quite good (the people said, a weed).
People were enraged and dissatisfied with the fact that the individual had discovered something they were unaware of. They wandered around the innovation, ultimately realising how wonderful it was for themselves and became resentful that he had discovered it instead of them.(To and fro they went Thro’ my garden-bower And muttering discontent Cursed me and my flower).
However, the poet showed that the invention was so superior that even the tiniest doubt could not be cast on it. (Then it grew so tall It wore a crown of light), but eventually, people figured out how to make it (But thieves from o’er the wall Stole the seed by night).
Later, those who replicated it mass produced it for public use (Sowed it far and wide By every town and tower). As more people experienced the new innovation, they discovered how wonderful it was (Till all the people cried ‘Splendid is the flower!’). Soon after, the invention’s secret was disclosed, and many individuals learned how to replicate it (Most can raise the flowers now, for all have got the seed).
Everyone had and could create the invention now, until it became so ubiquitous that everyone took it for granted. (And now the people call it, but a weed.)
Analysis of the Poem – The Flower
This poem is about a flower or we can say a seed that everyone must see but no one enjoys except the owner. He is similar to a harvester since “he cast to earth a seed” (line 2) and subsequently “up came a flower” (line 3). But, in my opinion, this is a fabricated fiction based on a true story with minor adjustments. It can be applied in real life to a story of a man who reveals a person to a group of people or to society because he believes this person has a talent that everyone should know about, but no one believes in the man or his skill. As a result, they have abandoned him from society, and one day that man becomes very renowned, but the people refuse to admit that he was correct due to their pride.
It appears throughout the poem as well, but in different ways: “the people said, a weed” (line 4) and “and now again the people call it but a weed” (line 5). (lines 23-24). It reveals that the flower is disliked by the public. This fable has an irony since, at first, the flower is described as “a weed” (line 4), but subsequently it is described as “splendid” (line 16).
It is a moral poetry because the author attempts to show everyone a flower, but no one wants to see it. But, in the end, they will have to watch it all day in all the towns because it is spread so swiftly everywhere.
The elimination of moral or ethical context from poem after poem produces a situation that appears to demand a judgement or series of judgments and which either makes secure judgement impossible or makes contradictory judgments essential. The best poems in this collection are those that unavoidably project a moral or societal dilemma without offering a solution; they work equally hard to bring forth and cast doubt on our judgments and definite responses. They not only present, but also elicit an ironic posture. He is even willing to let his characters escape in order to surround the reader with walls. (A Literary Life of Alfred Tennyson)
Some people stole the seed “by night” (line 12), and in their attempt to do something wrong to this man and the flower, they forgot that plants reproduce with seeds, and the act of transporting the seed from one place to another “sowed it far and wide by every town and tower” (lines 13-14), becomes an act of reproduction. Because this seed spreads to all areas, new blooms sprout in all places. People are now enraged over it. “And now it is being referred to as a weed once more” (lines 23-24). Maybe they adore these flowers, but they are upset because the plant that they despised as “a weed” (line 4) is now everywhere, and they despise it. And it is demonstrated in “cursed me and my flower” (line 8) that the poet himself is aware that not everyone likes his flower or him. Alfred Lord Tennyson was born between 1837 and 1901, during Queen Victoria’s long reign in England. At the end of the nineteenth century, an optimistic and self-assured man rules the World and Nature with technical and scientific knowledge. Victorian England (La Inglaterra Victoriana)
It contrasts with the flower’s enlargement in that it reveals that people are unaware of how a bloom can be extended. And in the most industrialised regions, Europeans, Americans, and Japanese rush to the conquest of new cities and territories where they can gather raw materials and sell their products, at the same time that they began to play for universal domination. This is a period of heightened societal instability. So, while the overall quality of life is excellent, the benefits do not reach all people and are not distributed evenly. Victorian England (La Inglaterra Victoriana) It is depicted in the poem when people resist the flower as well.
The author used a metaphor in the statement “Once in a golden hour…” (Line 1), which serves as the opening of a storey; perhaps because he refers to it as a fable. But an hour cannot be golden, thus the poet gives an abstract item (an hour) a concrete thing’s feature (being golden), and this is a metaphor. And the poem’s rhythm is as follows: (a, b; a, b) in “hour” (line 1) and “flower” (line 3); and “seed” (line 2) and “weed” (line 4). (line 4).
Tennyson uses nature to communicate with his readers in this poem; he uses a “flower” because a flower, like all living beings, has the same functions: to be born (the process is different but similar, at the same time), to live (it is the same process because we all need to eat, in different forms), to grow and to reproduce (plants use a “seed” (line 2), people need two people to reproduce, and normally plants need two plants to reproduce, but there are (we both fade with time).
The poem explains how people react to something fresh and unique. To begin with, people are unsure and fearful, and they dismiss the new as worthless and harmful. They are, nevertheless, interested and envious, and they want to adjust to the new. When the new is extensively absorbed and integrated into the old, it loses its surprise and becomes routine. People lose interest in it and dismiss it as useless once more. The poem implies that we should be courageous in our views and act in accordance with our principles, regardless of acclaim or condemnation.
Comprehension Questions and Answers
1. What did the people call the flower at first?
Answer. This is a poem in which Tennyson uses nature to communicate with his readers; he uses a “flower” because a flower, like all living things, has the same functions: to be born (the process is different but similar, at the same time), to live (it is the same process because we need to eat, in different forms), to grow and reproduce (plants use a “seed” (line 2), people require two people to reproduce, and normally plants require two plants to reproduce as well, but there are some plants that reproduce independently (we both fade with time). The indigenous people referred to it as a weed.
2. How did they react when they saw it in the garden?
Answer. The people was enraged and dissatisfied that the individual had discovered something they did not. They walked about the creation, finally realising how useful it was for themselves, and getting jealous that it was he, not them, who discovered it.(To and fro they went Thro’ my garden-bower And muttering discontent Cursed me and my flower).
3. Did people’s curses have any effect on the growth of the flower?
Answer. There is no effect of people’s curses on the growth of the flower, as it grew so tall, beautiful and bright.
4. What happened when the plant grew tall?
Answer. However, the poet proved that the invention was so good that it could not be given the slightest of doubts. (Then it grew so tall It wore a crown of light), but at last, people managed to steal the secret in making it (But thieves from o’er the wall Stole the seed by night).
5. What did the thieves do with the stolen seed?
Answer. Later, the people who copied it, produced it to the public (sowed it far and wide by every town and tower). As everybody tried the new invention, they realized how good it was (Till all the people cried ‘Splendid is the flower.’). Soon, the time came when the secret of the invention leaked out, and many people knew how to produce the same invention (Most can raise the flowers now, for all have got the seed.).
4. How did the people react when the flower grew everywhere?
Answer. Some people stole the seed “stole the seed by night” (line 12) and in this attempt to do something wrong to this man and the flower, they forgot plants reproduce itself with seeds, and the action of transporting the seed from one place to another “sowed it far and wide by every town and tower” (lines 13-14), it becomes an action of reproduction. Because this seed extends to all places and then, new flowers grown in all places. Now, people are angry about it “And now again the people call it, but a weed” (lines 23-24).
7. What happened to the quality and beauty of the flower when the seed was cast everywhere?
Answer. Because this seed extends to all places and then, new flowers grown in all places. Now, people are angry about it “And now again the people call it, but a weed” (lines 23-24). Maybe they like these flowers, but they are angry because of the fact that the plant which they hated “the people said, a weed” (line 4) now is in all places, and they dislike it. And it is shown in “cursed me and my flower” (line 8), the poet himself knows that all people do not like his flower nor him.
8. How did the people view the flower when it became commonplace?
Answer. At first, many did not trust him and continued to assume his new invention was useless, implying that the idea was actually quite good (the people said a weed). As more and more people sampled the new innovation, they recognised how good it was (Till all the people cried ‘Splendid is the flower!’). Soon after, the invention’s secret became public, and many others learned how to replicate it (Most can raise the flowers now, for all have got the seed.).