William Morris, "The Haystack in the Floods"
- Why do you think this title was chosen?
- What do you make of the opening questions? What is symbolic
in the fact that she was forced to part without a kiss?
- Does the opening section prepare the reader for the events
which follow? At what point can we tell the setting and main events of
- What are poem's rhyme scheme and rhythms? How do they
contribute to its pace and tone?
- What is the effect of narrating the story from Jehane's
point of view, rather than Robert's?
- Which of her reactions are emphasized in the second stanza,
and how may this be intended to affect the reader?
- What do we learn of Robert's character from his response
to danger? Of hers? What fate does she fear, and is this fear justified?
- In line 61 we learn the political situation which determines
the lovers' fate. What is this conflict, and on which side are Robert
Why might the young Morris have considered this a historically
- What causes Robert's capture?
- What do we learn about Godmar's character from the ultimatum
he gives to Jehane?
- What do you think of her refusal, and of the grounds
she gives for not yielding/saving her lover's life? Do you think the author/poem
is sympathetic to her position?
- What physical responses indicate Jehane's state of mind?
Is her threat to Godmar effective? Does it surprise you? What counterthreat
does he make?
- What is added by the detail that Jehane falls asleep
before giving her final decision?
- Is the murder narrated well? Which details make it especially
- Why does Jehane gaze at her hands? Why do you think this
is the last we see of her? Has she gone mad, and if so, why does the poem
"as if this thing had made her mad," rather than, "because this
thing had made her mad"?
- In the fictive world of the poem, what do you think most
probably happened to Jehane and Godmar?
- Why do you think the poet chose to end the poem at this
point? Do you think this was a good decision?
- Is this an effective poem? If so, why?
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