The Human Condition

Essay by lisalaw139High School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Lisa Law


Question: "It means they were human"

How have the texts you have studied in Area of Study: the Human Condition contributed to your thinking of what it is human.

Word count: 1945

The human condition is the experience of all elements of human existence. The susceptibility to endure both happiness and sadness is one of the elements that respond to our questioning of what is human. This is examined by the contrast of exhilaration depicted in both John Keats's poem "On First Looking At Chapman's Homer" and in the photograph "Bondi" by Marc Bok in the stimulus booklet and the depression in the film "Lantana" directed by Ray Lawrence and the poem "Preludes" by T.S. Eliot.

John Keats poem "On First Looking at Chapman's Homer" displays the human capacity for happiness through its structure, images and tone. To expose his joy and inspired feelings about Chapman's translation of Homer, Keats had used the form of a Petrarchan sonnet to communicate how profoundly the revelation of Homer's literature had affected him.

The use of this structure allows a strong contrast from his neutral tone in the octave to the thrill and excitement in the sestet.

In the first line, "realms of gold" symbolise the voyaging of discovery and to the world of literature and imagination, valued as highly as "gold". However, Keats use of the modifier "goodly" reflects his satisfaction only of those "kingdoms" and "states". Keats' tone of neutrality in terms of these experiences is established through the drowsy consonance of the "l" in "travelled in the realms of gold" and the assonance of the long and rounded vowels in "goodly states and kingdoms seen".

The responders sense his appreciation of "deep- browed Homer" and his acknowledgment of the "fealty" to such ancient works but...