Emotion vs. Intellect in Ode to a Nightingale and Since Feeling is First

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Emotion vs. Intellect in Ode to a Nightingale and Since Feeling is First We must look for guidance from the emotions…not the mind. This romantic philosophy is portrayed in the works of both John Keats’s "Ode to a Nightingale" and E. E. Cummings’s "Since Feeling is First." Each poet addresses the complex relationship of following one’s emotion and passion as opposed to one’s thought. Whereas Cummings supports living life fully in order to escape the confines of thought, Keats suggests death as the only possible means of overcoming this human consciousness. Cummings’s "Since Feeling is First" compares the inadequacy of mental analysis with the beauty of emotional spontaneity by "argu[ing] feeling and the abandonment of…show more content…
In other words, life is not something formal and organized and part of a larger composition; it is all we have (Heyen 87). Thus, the woman should follow her emotions in order to make the most of this ephemeral life. For Cummings, an emphasis on the spiritual and holy aspects of nature, along with puns and the unorthodox use of words, contribute to the desired ambiguity of the poem. These frequent contradictions to the English language allow semantic units to overpass any grammatical setting that may anchor it to a single meaning. This way, Cummings allows the reader to "drop all the accoutrements of the grammarian and the rhetorician that he may be wearing as protective clothing and to approach his poems, as it were, naked and unafraid" (Maurer 82). In short, the reader should be free of preconceived notions about poetry, and unafraid to reconsider his standards. In lines four and five, "wholly", when read aloud, just as readily implies "holy." These lines can consequently be read as "will never holy kiss you;/holy to be a fool/while Spring is in the world," emphasizing the spiritual focus of the poem, and drawing a connection between all that is holy and all that is natural and physical.

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