The Castaway

An understanding of Cowper’s poem is centred around a narrative

Task: With a partner, rewrite the narrative of ‘The Castaway’.

Cowper’s narrative stance is equally important to our understanding of the poem

Task: Highlight the pronouns and other references to character throughout the poem.

An understanding of Cowper’s background is equally important to develop an understanding of what is being said.

Task: Read the background research on Cowper. Show on your poem where the poem shifts from narrative to Cowper describing his own state of mind.

Other points of interest include: The use of sound both through diction and aural devices; language associated with emotion;

Given Cowper’s background determinism is evident in the poem. Determinism is when “all events, including action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will” (New Oxford American Dictionary). Where is this evident and to what significance?

Task: Use background information from Cowper or views on 18 century evangelicalism to discuss the poem.

Try the search term: “William Cowper”

evangelicalism 18 century

Further Reading

An interesting article linking Cowper’s ‘The Castaway’ and Virginia Woolf’s ‘The Lighthouse’

Image: ‘The second wave

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