Die Nachtigall Poem Analysis

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Theodor Storm (1817-1888) was a German lawyer and writer who is perhaps best known for his novellas, most notably his last completed work “Der Schimmelreiter”. His writing developed from the lyrical depiction of love and nature, via artful fairy tales inspired by E.T.A Hoffmann and Hans Christian Andersen to realist prose. “Die Nachtigall” appears in the fairy tale Hinzelmeier, but this context is immaterial to the poem’s interpretation. It elaborates on a young girl’s transition to adulthood from the point of view of an outside observer and captivates the reader with its melodiousness and simplicity. It consists of two stanzas of five verses each. Moreover, the first stanza is repeated, either in its entirety or the first two verses only.…show more content…
In different versions of the poem, she is characterised either as “wildes Blut” or “wildes Kind”. While the former phrase creates a connection to the roses of the first stanza and might be erotically charged, the latter emphasises her boisterous childish behaviour by ending with the only word that does not fit into the rhyme scheme. The transition from the sixth to the seventh verse conveys the poem’s central observation. As the shift from past to present tense indicates, the girl’s attitude has changed. While the opening phrase “Das macht” previously seemed to refer only to the blossoming of the roses, now, it is possible to see another connection: The song of the nightingale, the love that blossomed and resonated within her, caused the girl’s transformation. The eighth and ninth verse further illustrate her changed emotional state. She barely perceives her environment as she wanders around aimlessly. She even forgets to protect herself from the heat of the sun, because her mind is elsewhere. Compared to the first stanza that is predominated by light vowels, especially a and i, the second stanza sounds dark and heavy due to the repeated dark vowels o and u and the end-stopped verses. The resulting slow pace conveys the young woman’s absent-mindedness. The anaphora “Und” (vv. 9, 10) further underlines her uncertainty and cluelessness. All her contemplation does not help as she still does not know what to do (v.
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