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Valentine Sonnet

Subject:

Language Arts  

Grades:

9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Valentine Sonnet Project
By – Isabelle Cannoux
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 9-12 and University Level

Note:

This EFL project was sent to us from the University of Picardie Jules Verne (French Université de Picardie Jules Verne) located in Amiens, France.


Handout 1


Project:

    Celebrate U.S. Valentine’s Day

Directions:

  1. Create a Valentine’s card for a friend or relative you like for Valentine’s Day.
  2. Write a sonnet to put in the card.
  3. Prepare an oral presentation of your creation in groups.

Content:

  • Your sonnet MUST include the following elements:
    • Three quatrains and a rhyming couplet
    • Each quatrain must follow the rhyming endings patterns
    • Each line must follow the iambic pentameter pattern
  • Your sonnet MAY follow the pattern of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130

Presentation:

  • Prepare a PowerPoint presentation to accompany your recitation with music and/or pictures.
  • Memorize your lines and practice your recitation with ‘audacity.’

Argumentation:

  • Prepare to justify and explain your choices concerning your work.
  • Write down a paragraph in which you justify and explain your choice and hand in at the end of class.

Document Format:

    The document can be
  • a PowerPoint presentation
  • an A4 Page (paper size comparable to 8 1/2″ by 11″)

Deadline:

  • Presentation day and card:
    • Valentine’s Day or the weekday preceding it if the day falls on a weekend or Monday holiday.
    • At the end of the presentation, every group will mail their card in the Valentine’s Mailing Box of the class, then when every group member has posted his or her card, mail will be delivered
  • Hand in your papers/documents at the end of your presentation.

Website Reference Resources:


Teacher’s Project Outline


Project Outline:

  1. Teacher explains Valentine’s Day in the U.S. and the preceding project requirements page (Handout 1 above).
  2. Activity 1 – Anticipation Set:
    • Show Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, fuzzy or blurred.
    • What do you notice? (3 quatrains + 2 rhyming verses)
    • What form of poem? (It is a sonnet.)
  3. Listen to the recitation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 by Alan Rickman (YouTube)
  4. Teach lesson from teacher’s reference material. (bottom)
  5. Activities 2-3 – Hand out the sonnet by quatrain (Handout 2). Students locate the vowel sounds by listening to the audio.doc again.
  6. Activity 4 – Iambic Pentameter Tracking Activity:
    1. ta-TUM
    2. weak syllables/stressed syllables in the poem
  7. Activity 5 – Classify the words into categories
  8. Activity 6 – Underline the expressions that are used to compare the mistress with something
  9. Activity 7 – Discuss the sets of imagery in the poem
  10. Activity 8 – What is the lady like?
  11. Activity 9 – Let’s Recap:
    • Directions: Use the tables in the handout (Handout 3) and expressions of comparison to explain Q1 Q2 Q3 Couplet
      • 1) = Activity 5 Key
      • 2) = Activity 7 Key
      • 3) = Activity 8 Key
      • 4) = Activity 6 Key
    • Group work to figure out the meaning of the sonnet
    • Reflection on form and sense of the sonnet
  12. Activity 10 – Find possible themes and styles for student poem.
    • Use index card method for figuring out the poem
    • Research the vocabulary around semantic fields (i.e. the body => words to describe the head, legs, etc. in a poetic way)
    • One poem written per person
    • Pattern for the pupils who would like to use one (handout 4)
  13. Recitation of the teacher’s poem

ACTIVITY I:

 

  • Form of the poem:
    • 3 quatrains with rhyming pattern abab cdcd efef plus 1 rhyming gg couplet = a Sonnet

Sonnet 130 Teaching Material


 

SONNET 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,                             (variegated)

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,                                              (walk)

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare                         (admirable, extraordinary)

As any she belied with false compare.                                       (misrepresented)


This sonnet, one of Shakespeare’s most famous, plays an elaborate joke on the conventions of love poetry common to Shakespeare’s day, and it is so well-conceived that the joke remains funny today. Most sonnet sequences in Elizabethan England were modeled after that of Petrarch.

Sonnet 130 mocks the typical Petrarchan metaphors by presenting a speaker who seems to take them at face value, and somewhat bemusedly, decides to tell the truth.

Your mistress’ eyes are like the sun? That’s strange – my mistress’ eyes aren’t at all like the sun. Your mistress’ breath smells like perfume? My mistress’ breath reeks compared to perfume. In the couplet, then, the speaker shows his full intent, which is to insist that love does not need theses conceits in order to be real; and women do not need to look like flowers or the sun in order to be beautiful.

The rhetorical structure of Sonnet 130 is important to its effect. In the first quatrain, the speaker spends one line on each comparison between his mistress and something else (the sun, coral, snow, and wires – the one positive thing in the whole poem, some part of his mistress IS like .

In the second and third quatrains he expands the descriptions to occupy two lines each, so that roses/cheeks, perfume/ breath, music/voice, and goddess/ mistress each receive a pair of unrhymed lines.

This creates the effect of an expanding and developing argument, and neatly prevents the poem — which does, after all, rely on a sing song kind of joke for its first twelve lines — from becoming stagnant.


Glossary

1 My … sun: i.e. her eyes are not bright and shining.

3 dun: dull colored, or grayish-brown.

4 wires: (gold) wires. Ornamental head-dresses of the period often contained gold wires, so that it was quite normal to compare lush blonde hair with the gold wires in the head-dress above. Blonde was fashionable then, as now. The mistress, however, has black and not blonde hair.

5 damasked: mingled (red and white). Damask roses were a sweet-smelling variety popular at the time.

 

9 reeks: is exhaled. The word was not used then with our heavily negative sense, but more neutrally.

11 go: walk. You were supposed to be able to recognize a goddess by the way she walked.

13 rare: admirable, extraordinary.

14 she: woman.

16 Belied: misrepresented.

16 Compare: comparison.

The sonnet, then, presents us with a series of inversions. Shakespeare knows the convention that the woman you love has eyes “brighter or more lovely than the sun”, and he simply denies it in the first line. The following lines each turns upside down a customary complement: the woman’s breasts are dull colored or grayish (“dun”) not, as was proverbial, “as white as snow” (3-4). Her cheeks are not as beautiful in coloring as damask roses (5-6). Her breath is not particularly sweet-smelling (7-8); her voice is normal and not musical (8-9); her walk normal too, not like that of a supernatural goddess.

Nonetheless, the poet admires her beauty, suggesting that she is really beautiful, but adamant that he is not going to be drawn into a game of falsely praising that beauty. Sonnet 130 is a kind of inverted love poem. It implies that the woman is very beautiful indeed, but suggests that it is important for this poet to view the woman he loves realistically. False or indeed “poetical” metaphors, conventional exaggerations about a woman’s beauty, will not do in this case. The poet wants to view his mistress realistically, and praise her beauty in real terms.

These stock clichés or conventions for praising a woman’s beauty are, on the one hand, a kind of charming game, taking a woman’s features one by one, and then praising their loveliness. Yet, even as a graceful game, Shakespeare seems unhappy with such conventions. The way he debunks, or sends up these exaggerations suggests a kind of realism that has a deeper moral value. His poem is more gracious and genuinely complementary by, on the surface, apparently being more negative. He surpasses the conventional complements by showing up their exaggerated nature, and so implies the real loveliness of his mistress. In fact his mistress is quite as “rare” (admirable, extraordinary) as any woman praised in more conventional terms – he implies that really she is even more beautiful. It’s just that he is not going to play the usual silly poetical game. He’s actually playing an even more exaggerated game: overturning the conventional way of praising beauty in order to imply that his love transcends even that.

The sonnet is in the English (or “Shakespearean”) form, i.e. its rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg. This alternating rhyme scheme marks out the three quatrains and then the ending couplet. (Compare the looser version of the sonnet used by Clare in “Sonnet”.) In this form of the sonnet, the closing couplet, just because it is a couplet, has a clinching or resounding force of statement: “And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare / As any she belied with false compare”. Put that in modern English: “Actually, the woman I love is just as lovely as any of these women who you want to praise with ridiculous complements”. — http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/shakesonnets/section9.rhtml

ACTIVITY II:

  • Underline repeated vowel sounds and stresses in each line:
  • a: Q1          b: Q2          c: Q3          d: COUPLET

Handout 2 – Sonnet by Quatrain

 


Q1

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

Q2

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

Q3

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

COUPLET

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.


Activity III


ACTIVITY III: Recap in the following table

SHORT VOWELS

LONG VOWELS

QUATRAIN #1

                       
 

 

                     

QUATRAIN #2

                       
 

 

                     

QUATRAIN #3

                       
 

 

                     

COUPLET

                       
 

 

                     

Activity IV


Iambic Pentameter Activity

  • Listen to your heartbeat and count to ten
  • Which numbers are stressed?

              1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

    Can you imagine why these numbers are stressed? Because you can hear them louder.

  • ta (quiet kid)                              TUM (loud speaking kid)
  • Each kid has a sheet with the words (stressed or unstressed) and says it:

    my MIStress        EYES        are        NOthing       LIKE           the     SUN

QUATRAIN#1

Weak

S

W

S

W

S

W

S

W

S

 

my

silence

If

if

MIS

CO

SNOW

HAIRS

tress’

ral is

be

be

EYES

FAR

WHI

WI

are

more

te

res

NO

RED

WHY

BLACK

thing

than

then her

wires

 

LIKE

HER

BREASTS

GROW

 

the

lips’

are

on her

SUN

RED

DUN

HEAD

QUATRAIN#2

I

but

and

than

HAve

NO

IN

IN

seen

such

some

the

RO

RO

PER

BREATH

ses

ses

fumes

that

DAMAS

SEE

IS

FROM

ked

I

there

my

RED

IN

MORE

MIS

and

her

de

tress

WHIte

CHEEKS

LIGHT

REEKS

QUATRAIN#3

I

that

I

my

LOVE

MU

GRANT

MIS

to

sic

I

tress

HEAR

HATH

NE

WHEN

her

a

ver

she

SPEAK

FAR

SAW

WAL

yet

more

a

ks

WELL

PLEAS

GOD

TREADS

I

ing

dess

on the

KNOW

SOUND

GO

GROUND

COUPLET

and

as

 

YET

AN

by

ny

HEAV

SHE

ven I

be

THINK

LIED

my

with

LOVE

FALSE

as

com

RARE

PARE


Activity V


Classify Words into Categories (KEY)

WHO

COLOR

NATURE

BODY

SENSES

   

EARTH

SKY

   

My mistress

white

dun (grayish-brown)

red

white

coral

damasked (red & white)

ground

roses

 

sun

snow

goddess

heaven

head

wires (hair)

eyes

lips

reeks

cheeks

breasts

touch

hear

smell

taste

see


Activity VI


Underline Expressions used to Compare the Mistress to an Image

Equal

Not Equal

far more red than

I know music hath a far more pleasing sound

love as rare

are nothing like

But no such roses see I

love is as rare as true beauty

It is a lot more red than

Music is more pleasing

her eyes are unlike the sun

her eyes are not like the sun

her eyes are different from the sun

her eyes do not look like the sun

her eyes do not resemble the sun

her eyes are not as shiny and bright as the sun


Activity VII


What Do the Sonnet’s Images Symbolize?

IMAGES

SYMBOLS

OPPOSITES

SUN

light bright shining brilliant
glittering sparkling

dark dull dim sad

RED

sensuality colorful sexuality beauty

uninteresting annoying ugly dull unattractive

WHITE

purity pure clean

dirty common ordinary

BLACK

fair blond pure delicate

witch sorceress impure

DAMASKED

delicate desire timid shy

uninteresting unattractive dull

PERFUME

fragrance light charm classy smart

smelly unpleasant unattractive dull annoying

MUSIC

lightness charming sensuality

too loud cacophony disorderly unattractive

GODDESS

perfection beauty extraordinary

human common ordinary


Activity VIII


Comparison: What is the lady like?

BODY

Equal

Not Equal

COMPARISON

HAIR (Wires)

X  

BLACK

EYES

  X

SUN

LIPS

  X

RED

SPEAKS (VOICE)

  X

MUSIC

CHEEKS

  X

DAMASKED

BREASTS

X  

DUN


Activity IX – Handout 3


UNDERSTANDING THE SONNET

1-CLASSIFY THE WORDS INTO CATEGORIES

WHO

COLOR

NATURE

BODY

SENSES

   

EARTH

SKY

   
         

 

2-WHAT DO THE SONNET’S IMAGES SYMBOLIZE?

IMAGES

SYMBOLS

OPPOSITES

SUN

 

 

RED

 

 

WHITE

 

 

BLACK

 

 

DAMASKED

 

 

PERFUME

 

 

MUSIC

 

 

GODDESS

 

 

3-COMPARISON: What is the lady like?

BODY

Equal

Not Equal

COMPARISON

WIRES (HAIR)

 

 

BLACK

EYES

 

 

SUN

LIPS

 

 

RED

SPEAKS (VOICE)

 

 

MUSIC

CHEEKS

 

 

DAMASKED

BREASTS

 

 

DUN

4-Underline Expressions used to compare the mistress to an image:

Equal

Not Equal

   

 

 


Activity IX – Group Work


Group Work:

    Use the tables to explain QUATRAINS #1 #2 #3

Q1:

  • For the poet, his mistress’ eyes are not like the sun. She is dull and there is nothing extraordinary about her.
  • Her lips are not as red as Coral, so they must be pink, and her breasts are not as white as snow, but dun, that is to say grayish-brown. Her hair are not as fair as gold, but black. She is dark-haired.

Q2:

    Her cheeks are not as damasked as a rose, and her breath is not as pleasant as perfume.

Q3:

    When she speaks, her voice is not as pleasant as music, and she does not walk like a goddess. She is a mere human being.

COUPLET:

    However, the poet argues that his love for her is more rare/ extraordinary than any other love because she is truly beautiful and uses no artifice. Therefore she does not compare with any other woman.

Activity IX – Reflection on Form and Sense in the Sonnet


Reflection on the Form of the Sonnet and the Sense of the Sonnet

Sense:

  • Q1:
      The poet speaks about the eyes of his mistress, her lips, her skin (breasts), hair
  • Q2:
      The poet speaks about the cheeks and the breath of his mistress
  • Q3:
      The poet speaks about the sound of her voice and her way of walking
  • Couplet:
        The poet says that because she is human, his love (she) is that more precious.
      (= opposition in comparison with the description in the Q1 Q2 Q3

Form:

  • Theme:
      His mistress is far from the most beautiful woman of the world, however it is she that he loves.
  • Rhymes:
        abab
        cdcd
        efef
      gg

Activity X – Themes and Styles of Sonnets


Find Possible Topics and Styles for Writing your own Sonnet

        Possible Themes:
      • love
      • friendship
      • family
      • nature
      • fauna
      • flora

Possible Style:

  • humor
  • sadness
  • nostalgia
  • sincerity
  • irony
  • Remember that the two last lines (rhyming couplet) must go on the opposite course to what was developed in the first three quatrains.
  • Handout (Handout 4) can be a model of the poem
    • Decide topic of the Sonnet
    • Must us this rhyme Scheme and meter:
      • abab cdcd efef gg
      • Iambic Pentameter (10 syllables stressing all 2 syllables)
    • Use the index method for writing the poem. Decide topic of each quatrain
      • Q1
      • Q2
      • Q3
      • Couplet

Handout 4 – Optional Sonnet Outline


Sonnet

………………………………………………..are nothing like ………………………;
………………is far more ……………………than……………………………………;
If…………………be…………………………., why then…………………is/are………….
If…………………be………………………………………………………………………………

I have seen………………………………………………………………………………
But no such…………………………………..in………………………………………
And in some………………………… is there more……………………………..
Than …………………………………….that…………………………………………..

I love to ……………………………………., yet well I know
That…………………….hath a far more ………………………………………….
I grant I never ………………………………………………………………………..
My……………………., when she/he…………………………., ………………….
                    
And yet, by heaven, I think ………………………………………..as…………
As…………………………………………………………………………………………

Rhymes

a
b
a
b

c
d
c
d

e
f
e
f

g
g


Teacher’s Example Sonnet


(Refers to an English as a Foreign Language class in a French University)

      TEACHER’S SONNET
      My students’ eyes are nothing except fun,
      But they can look sleepy, not like aces;
      Girls ‘n Boys like t’ have their hair nicely done
      And alike t’ show a pout on their faces.
      If silence be golden, they don’t know quite
      What it’s like to look like a picture still,
      If in some classes boredom be a rite,
      For ‘em t’play with English words is a thrill.
      I love to hear them speak, yet well I know
      The Seconde Ones know how t’ make a mistake;
      I grant I think no teacher will speak so,
      Although teachers do strange mistakes make!
      And yet, by heaven, this class is unique
      They sparkle like stars when with joy they speak.

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