A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns | Summary & Questions and Answers | Compulsory English Class 11

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ABOUT POEM 👇
A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns 

This poem ” A Red, Red Rose” is one of the finest creations which has been composed by a Scottish poet Robert Burns. This poem was initially published in the year 1794. The poem has 16 lines ( Four quatrains) and has the form of a ballad.

The main theme of this poem is the immortality of love. Love never dies and remains forever. This poem has presented an unnamed speaker and his deep love feelings for his unnamed beloved. The speaker here in this poem has made promises to his beloved that his love for his beloved will last longer than human life and even the planet, remaining fresh and constant forever. There are altogether four different stanzas here in this poem.

MAIN SUMMARY OF THE POEM👇

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns 

In the very first stanza, we find the speaker comparing his beloved with lovable things. Here, the speaker’s love feelings for his beloved are so deep.

The speaker compares his beloved with the beautiful, fresh and delicate red rose of June. Next, the speaker compares his beloved with a sweet melody that is sweetly played in tune.

In the second stanza, the speaker praises her beauty and even makes very lovable promises related to his love to her. According to the speaker, he is in deep love with her because she is quite beautiful. He adds that he will love her until the entire seas on this planet have become dry.

The promises of the speaker keep on moving even in the third stanza. He promises his beloved to love her till the rocks on this planet have melted with the heat of the sun. He will love her until the end of human life.

In the fourth stanza, the speaker wishes for his beloved to have a good life and bright future during their temporary separation. He lets her farewell. In the final two lines, we find the speaker promising his love to return though the journey is so long ( Ten thousand miles) and takes a very long time.

SHORT SUMMARY OF THE POEM 👇

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns 

The poem “A Red, Red Rose” is about the lovable feelings of the speaker towards his beautiful beloved. The speaker’s love for his beloved is so deep. He compares his beloved with the new red rose of June and a sweet melody of a tune. His beloved is so beautiful like a red rose and the sweet melody of the tune. He wants to love his beloved forever that’s why he is making various promises. He wants to be with her and love her until earthly seas gang go dry, rocks melt and human life ends. He wants to be with her after a short separation no matter the journey is ten thousand miles long or it takes a long time. The speaker dedicates his life to his beloved who is quite beautiful.

A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns 

BEFORE READING

a. How do people express love?

Answer:

People often express love in a very secret way. They express love through different means as open proposing, sending gifts, chatting in-network, sending the letters, sending a friend as a messenger etc.

b. What is the symbolic meaning of ‘rose’?

Answer:

The flower rose has different symbols according to its colour. Different colours symbolize different lovable meanings. A red rose often symbolizes love and beauty; therefore, it also represents a lady. The red rose symbolizes love, beauty and romance here in this poem. The red roses are specially used by lovers as Valentine’s roses on Valentine’s day.

c. What images in nature would you use to express love?

Answer:

There are various images in nature that express love. Among these images, I would use two images to express love.

1. Rain: Rain always reminds me of my first meeting with my beloved. 

2. Red rose: This particular flower reminds me of my beloved’s smile.

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UNDERSTANDING THE TEXT 

Answer the following questions:

a. To which two things does the speaker compare his love in the first stanza?

Answer:

There are altogether four different stanzas here in this poem where we find the speaker comparing, admiring, wishing and promising. In the very first stanza, the speaker compares his beloved with the fresh, delicate and beautiful red rose of July. Next, he compares her with a sweet melody that is sweetly played in a fine-tune. Here, these comparisons have shown the beauty of the speaker’s beloved. 

b. What does the speaker promise in the second and third stanza?

Answer: 

The speaker promises various things to his beloved in the second and third stanza. He promises to love his beloved until the earthly seas have become dry, rocks have melted by the heat of the sun and human life has ended.

c. What imagery does he use in his promise, and why do you think he uses such language?

Answer:

He uses the imagery of dry seas, melted rocks, ended human life in the second and third stanza. He uses an image of a long journey in the fourth stanza. I think he uses such language because his love is so deep and true for his beloved. 

d. In the last stanza, what event is about to happen by mentioning the number of miles?

Answer:

Here, by mentioning the number of miles, the event of reconciliation is about to happen. After a short temporary separation with his beloved or giving wishes and farewell, the speaker promises to return to her life though the journey is so long and takes a long time.

e. Which image in the poem do you find the most memorable or surprising and why?

Answer:

Here in this poem, I find the image of dry seas in the entire earth the most surprising because this promise of the speaker is managed in a very interesting fashion. After reading his lovable promises, I keep on pondering the state of the earth without water.

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REFERENCE TO THE CONTEXT

a. What can you infer about the speaker’s devotion to his beloved from the following lines?

And I will come again, my love, Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

Answer:

This beautiful promising line has been taken from Robert Burns love poem ‘ A Red, Red Rose. We find this line at the end of the fourth stanza. Here, the speaker is in deep love with his beloved. He is making a promise with his beloved to return to her life after their temporary separation. He promises to be with her no matter how long the journey is.

b. What is the theme of the poem?

Answer:

The main theme of this poem is the immortality of a love relationship and its feelings.

This poem has shown the concept that a love relationship never dies. It keeps on moving forever.

c. Paraphrase the whole poem into simple prose form.

Answer:

A speaker is in deep love with his beloved. His feelings for his beloved are so deep and pure.

His beloved isn’t present right now with him. He keeps on remembering his beloved through making comparisons, promises, wishes etc. He compares his beautiful beloved with a beautiful new delicate rose of June and sweet melody. He promises to love her forever. He promises to love and live with her until the seas gang have become dry, rocks have melted and human life has ended. He provides her with a fine farewell for a short time and wishes for her bright future. He again promises to come back in her life though the journey is quite long.

d. Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to present their ideas, emotions, and feelings and also help the readers understand those more profound meanings. Analyse the poem in terms of literary devices such as simile, symbolism, imagery, alliteration, and assonance.

Answer:

We find various use of literary devices here in this poem. A simile is a literary device that is used to make comparisons using like or as. Here, the speaker has used simile in the very first stanza where he has compared his beloved with the beautiful fresh red rose of July and sweet melody using like.

Next, Symbolism is a literary device that uses symbols, be they words, people, marks, locations, or abstract ideas to represent something beyond the literal meaning. Here, the red rose and sweet melody are symbolically presented for the speaker’s love. The love here in this poem symbolizes the immortal relationship.

Next, imagery is a literary device to represent concepts through the use of images. The speaker has used various images for his beloved and his promises. Here, we find images as a red rose, dry seas, melted rocks, end of human life, farewell, long journey etc.

Next, alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of two or more words at short intervals. Here in this poem, we can find alliteration in the very first line my love is like a red, red rose. (L&R). Again in the fourteenth line we find alliteration: well a while! (W).

Next, assonance is the repetition of similar or identical vowel sounds usually in literature or poetry. These vowel sounds are in closer words in a line and within consonant words too. We find assonance in the poem from the first to the last line:

e. What is hyperbole? Explain its purpose citing examples of hyperbole used in the poem.

Answer:

Hyperbole is a literary device that is used to exaggerate a statement for the sake of emphasis. To present the speaker’s depth of love, the poet has used this literary device. We find the use of hyperbole in the second and third stanza where the speaker has claimed that ” And I will love thee still  my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry”, ” And the rocks melt wi’ the sun!”, “While the sands o’ life shall run.” Here, in these lines, the speaker seems to exaggerate his feelings to show his determination of love for her forever. The last two lines ” And I will come again, my love, Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!” The speaker exaggerates the distance to show his firm feelings of love. 

f. What is refrain? Why is it used in the poem? Explain citing an example from the poem.

Answer:

Refrain is a poetic device that focuses only on repeated lines at some distance in the poems. It is used to emphasize something and also create rhythm in the poem. It is used to make breaks between stanzas. Here in this poem, we find refrain in the second, third and fourth stanza.

The refrain in the poem are as follows:

1. And I will love thee still, my dear,

2. Till a’ the seas gang dry.

3. And fare thee weel

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REFERENCE BEYOND THE TEXT 

a. What kind of love is expressed in “A Red, Red Rose”?

Answer:

In this poem, A Red, Red Rose, the poet has expressed his romantic love for his beloved where his feelings are so deep. He has compared his beloved with a new and beautiful rose of July and also with a sweet melody. He has even made many promises to love his beloved forever. 

b. Do you think that love has power? Why do the poets compose poems addressing their beloved?

Answer:

Yes, I think love has power. Love can sometimes lead people towards perfection whereas it may bring destructive results too. I think poets are so passionate about their creations. Most of the poets in the world prefer writing about love relationships. We find most of the poets composing their poems addressing their beloved because they want to write their own experiences of love and share with others. Their own experience of love supports them to create the best they can.

C. Poetry is the expression of feelings and emotions. Explain.

Answer:

Poetry is the expression of feelings and emotions which allows people to express themselves through the written means. Poetry is a great way to release emotions, exercise creativity and share thoughts and ideas with other people. Writing poetry is an art, a way of expression and finding meaning in few words.  A melody of passion flowing out onto the pages, words that flow into each other and yet express the innermost emotions and feelings of those who read the words. The poets can easily express their inner feelings and emotions through few lines of poetry. The creations of the poets have a deep meaning related to human feelings and emotions. The poetic lines create amazing meanings of humans’ feelings and emotions.

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