The Poems “The Apparition” And “The Flea” Writing Sample

Both of the poems “The Apparition” and “The Flea” are both about trying to get women into bed, so they can have sex. However, in “The Flea” John Donne uses a very flirty tone, while in “The Apparition” John Donne uses a revengeful tone. John Donne uses these two different approaches in the two poems “The Flea” and “The Apparition” to show how differently a tone, point of view, and poetic devices can affect how the reader views a work or the person in the work.

There are many similarities throughout both of the poems. In both of the poems there are many examples of imagery, but in both poems he describes the image of a bed. For example, in “The Flea” when Donne says:

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;

Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,

And cloistered in these living walls of jet.

Through this example one can see how Donne describes the figurative bed and that because they have shared a bed in “The Flea” that why shouldn’t they be in the same bed in real life. Donne describes the bed in a way that because they are not married is not a reason for them not to get together. One can also see how Donne is trying to be charming with the girl he is talking to in the poem. Then in the apparition Donne describes a bed when he says, “Bath’d in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie”. This line describes how the woman will be lying in bed after having a nightmare about how she could have slept with Donne, so this statement is really a kind of threat to the woman. The threat is that if she does not sleep with him that she will forever be attacked by things in her bed.

Through the poems, Donne is trying to chase something that seems really important to him through his use of words on woman in both of the poems, however, “It is unclear whether this was a concrete offer or just a general invitation” (Bernstein). No one in the world now will ever be able to tell whether or not Donne actually said something like what is in these poems to a real woman. Then in both of the poems Donne tries to use multiple different ways to persuade a woman to sleep with him by putting all of his effort behind his words. There really is no other way to do anything without putting all of your effort into something. One could spend one’s entire life doing something halfheartedly and get nowhere. Then that same person could put all of one’s effort into something and get a lot of results, just like Donne might at the end of the night. Both of these poems are very similar, but at the same time are very different.

There are many differences in these two poems like the tone. In “The Apparition” the tone is very revengeful, as if the woman harmed in a real deep way that only a woman could. One can see this when Donne says, “When by thy scorn, O Murd’ress, I am dead/ And that thou think’st thee free”. Donne uses very dark and twisted words to make the woman feel bad about what she is doing to him. Donne takes the idea of coming back to haunt someone after one is dead to a whole other level. “The Apparition” makes Donne seem like a diverted and twisted maniac obsessed with sex. However on the other hand, in “The Flea” Donne comes across with a flirty and almost innocent tone. One can see this when Donne says, “Yet this enjoys before it woo,/ And pampered swells with one blood made of two,/ And this, alas, is more than we would do”. Donne uses very small and carefree words to try to come across to the woman easier. Donne has the idea here that because there blood has already mingled, then why should they not mingle in an intertwined fashion in the bed. “The Flea” makes Donne come across as not worrying if he gets this girl or not because he can get any girl he wants. All he has to do is tell this to any girl and he thinks that he can get them.

Another example of how the two poems are different is that they may both talk death, however they don’t mean the same thing. For example in “The Flea” when Donne says, “Let not to that, self-murder added be,/ And sacrilege, three sins in killing three” , which shows how Donne wanted to make the girl feel as if having sex with him was not as bad of a sin as killing him. Killing him for what he is saying to her would be so bad that she could not recover from this sin, so why not pick the lesser of the evils. The lesser of the evils being that she has sex with him. Then in “The Apparition” when Donne says, “When by thy scorn, O murd’ress, I am dead/ And that thou think’st thee, which shows that Donne was saying that this other woman with all of her hatred for him will eventually kill him. No matter what she does her hatred will kill him eventually if she continues what she is doing, which is like an insult to her that she could not kill him normally. Therefore, she will eventually revert back to pure hatred for Donne.

Throughout both of the poems Donne uses the same point of view, which is 1st person. However, throughout the poems he does switch into different tenses. Like in “The Flea” Donne does switch from present tense while he is talking to the girl to past tense when he is talking about how their blood has already mingled in the past through the figurative flea. This makes Donne come across as even more carefree than before because of how people as a whole can do nothing to change the past. Being very carefree can be very helpful when someone is trying to make first impressions on someone because it shows that a person is very open to new ideas and things. Then in the “The Apparition” Donne switches from present tense while he is talking to the girl to future tense when is talking about how he will be haunting her for the rest of his life after death. This makes Donne come off even more dark and twisted because of he is planning their future, just so he can get back at her for being so mean to him. Being very controlling is not a very good thing to come across as, especially the first time a person meets someone. The point of view and the tense of the poem can greatly affect how the reader or the person listening understands and how they feel after they read or listen to the two poems. All the audience has to do is understand what the tense in the two poems implies.

In conclusion these two poems “The Flea” and “The Apparition” are both very similar and very different in many different ways. “The Flea” is different from “The Apparition” in that the tone is very different in each of the poems, “The Flea’s” being flirty and “The Apparition’s” being revengeful. Then the two poems are similar in the fact that the two poems use a lot of imagery and even use very descriptive imagery of bed, to imply sex with the woman. All of these things come together to show that although these two poems are very similar and different the two poems have two very different conclusions and how they come across to the reader or the audience.

The Symnol Of Siren In Poem And Painting


In the human experience, it is so easy to fall for simple tricks that seem like acts of kindness.

One way to prove this is the mythological creature the siren. The sirens sing a beautiful song, which seems like an act of kindness, but they sing it for evil. The song traps sailors on an island where they die.

In the painting Ulysses and the Sirens, John William Waterhouse uses the scene of Sirens trying to mesmerize Odysseus’ crew to show that it is easy for humans to get distracted by their problems and become easily overwhelmed, while in “Siren Song”, Margaret Atwood uses the same scene to show that humans often get deceived by people who seem kind, but actually hope for the worse.

Poetry Analysis

The poem by Atwood takes place in the thoughts of a siren. Whoever hears the siren song dies, but the speaker is tired of singing it. She is claiming that the song is a call for help, but this could easily be another trap

In the poem, the speaker states, “This song is a cry for help: Help me!” (Atwood 22)

In conclusion, the speaker is saying she is trapped and has no escape, we will never know whether this is just another trap or if she is being honest.

Research about the Poet

A. Atwood was born in Ontario, Canada on November 18, 1939. She started writing at the age of 5. Since then, she has written 27 poems. Not only has she achieved this much, she also earned a master’s degree in English Literature from Radcliffe COllege in 1962. Her poems all basically have the same theme, which is human behavior. Out of all of her achievements, her best was probably winning the PEN Pinter Prize for the spirit of political activism in 2016.

B. Atwood is a very experienced and encouraging writer. She claims that the only reason the female characters in her poems are suffering is because every woman she has talked to about personal experiences has suffered.

C. In conclusion, Atwood is a great role model for anyone who is looking for a future in writing. Not only is she a great writer, her poems are very inspirational and interesting.

Painting Analysis

A. The mood of the painting can be described as overwhelming, which demonstrates the idea that Odysseus’s crew is overwhelmed with stress.

B. The poem demonstrates stress in comparison to human experiences by showing the sirens as problems, and Odysseus’s crew as the humans being overwhelmed by their problems. The sirens are tempting and deceiving, while the crew is trying their best to not fall for the trap, it is very hard for them which causes stress.

C. In conclusion, the artist is trying to show that humans have to use all of the strength they have to avoid their temptations. Even though the sirens are singing as beautifully as they could, the crew thought ahead of time and planned for temptations.

Research About the Artist

A. John William Waterhouse lived a very fulfilling life. He was born on April 6, 1849. He produced over 200 paintings in his whole lifetime. The paintings by Waterhouse depicted scenes of tragedy, betrayal, and love. Sadly, Water house died at the age of 68 due to cancer. His last painting made was titled The Enchanted Garden.

B. Even though Waterhouse had cancer, he still continued to perservere with his painting and he ended up being very succesful.

C. In conclusion, Waterhouse worked hard and it payed off in the end of things, no matter what age he was, he was still very prosperous.

Theme that Connects Poem and Painting

A. The main theme that connects the poem and painting is deception.

B. The sirens are very deceptive creatures just simply by singing. In both the painting and the poem, the sirens are singing and tricking sailors who pass by simply using flattery.

C. In conclusion, the painting and poem both have a very universal theme, which is to not fall for simple temptations.


A. In the painting Waterhouse uses the scene of Sirens trying to mesmerize Odysseus’ crew to show that it is easy for humans to get distracted by their problems and become easily overwhelmed, while in “Siren Song”, Atwood uses the same scene to show that humans easily get deceived.

B. The painting and the poem both express the idea that humans are easily tricked by small obstacles or even each other.

C. Both the painting and the poem had two different moods, yet they still have the same theme. The painting has a mood that shows stress, however the poem has a mood of sadness. The theme of these two pieces of art is deception.

Jourdan Anderson’s Letter To His Former Master, Colonel Anderson

Jourdan Anderson’s letter to his former master, Colonel Anderson, expresses how Jourdans feels about the freedom and opportunities he gained after being emancipated. Jourdan informs his former master that he had a job that paid him a salary of twenty five dollars per month, had provisions of food and clothing, and was able to afford housing. Jourdan also informs his former master that his children are able to attend school and Sunday school, and that he and his wife Mandy regularly attend church every Sunday as well. Jourdan expresses that despite hurtful comments from some people, he and his family are treated in a respectful manner from their neighbors and church acquaintances. After being emancipated, Jourdan was able to obtain documents that have proof that he and his wife Mandy were legally emancipated from their former master. An important aspect of Jourdan freedom is that Jourdan is able to make of choice of where and who he wants to work for

From the information presented in Jourdan’s letter to Colonel Anderson, it can be inferred that Jordan was not treated well on plantation when he was a slave. In the beginning first paragraph of the letter Jourdan mentions that Colonel Anderson attempted to shoot Jourdan two times before he left the plantation. Jourdan also expresses that when he was a slave under Colonel Anderson, that he and his wife never got paid, and that they were treated the same as livestock. I believe that Jourdan was not serious about working under Colonel Anderson again, because despite the polite tone that Jourdan uses in the letter, the tone also expresses his resentment towards how Colonel Anderson treated him when he was working in the plantation. I believe that Jourdan wrote the letter to Colonel Anderson to show that he has created a better life outside of the, and the overall message that Jourdan letter conveys is that he is capable of surviving on his own.

Albion Tourgee’s letter to Senator Abbott informs the Senator that the Ku Klux Klan is performing violent acts of murder and lynching towards African Americans, because the Ku Klux Klan to suppress political involvement amongst the African Americans. For example, Tourgee mentions that Senator John W. Stephens was stabbed five to six times by the the Ku Klux Klan due to his influential position as a senator. Another example of the Ku Klux Klan violent acts was an incident where the group bounded a female and male African American together, placed them on the be, and proceed to burn the house as they rode off. Tourgee blames the government for allowing the Ku Klux Klan to carry out their violent acts of crime, because the government did not take action to suppress the Ku Klux Klan activities. Tourgee suggests Congress recognize the violent acts of the Ku Klux Klan as federal crimes, organized a militia to protect citizens from violent crimes, and to hire detectives to investigate the activities of violent groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Tourgee fears that if the violent crimes of the Ku Klux Klan continues, then African Americans will be forced to revert back to the slave system due to their lack of presence in social, political, and economic matters. Judging from Tourgee’s letter, I believe that the Ku Klux Klan was a large organization in 1870. The reason why I believe that the Ku Klux Klan was a large organization, is because Tourgee mentions various violent crimes from the Ku Klux Klan in different counties across the region. Another reason why I believe that the Ku Klux Klan is a large organization, is because Tourgee indicates that in a short period of time, the Ku Klux Klan accumulated a large number of violent acts against African Americans.

From Jourdan’s and Tourgee’s letters, there is an indication that whites who live in the south begin to attempt to suppress the freedom that the African Americans gain. Jourdan’s letter from 1865 reveals that some whites develop a mutual respect towards him and his family, while others still viewed them as slaves. This gives an indication that there is a split opinion on African American presences in society. Tourgee’s letter from 1870 reveals how southern whites, specifically the Ku Klux Klan, have developed a radical mindset of beliefs that African Americans were not equal, and should be punished for believing they are equal with white citizens. Overall, both Jourdan’s and Tourgee’s letter reveal how after being emancipated from slavery, African Americans would face difficulties attempting to alleviate social tensions with white citizens.

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