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November
(Alternate Title: No!)
A Poem by Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
A Study Guide
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Type of Work
Theme and Summary
Text of the Poem, Notes
Tone
End Rhyme
Verse Format
Alliteration
Anaphora
Hyperbole
Study Questions
Writing Topics
Biography
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Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Cummings.. 2011
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Type of Work and Year Written

.......Thomas Hood's "November" (also entitled "No") is a lyric poem centering on the fog and gloom of a November day in London. He completed it in 1844. The copy on this page appeared in the third volume of The Works of Thomas Hood, published in London by Edward Moxon and Company. 

Theme and Summary

.......The theme of the poem is the bleakness of a November day in London. A heavy fog—and perhaps a bit of smog from chimney smoke—obscures everything: the sun, the moon, the steeples, the roadways, the parks, even the faces of people on the streets. 
.......Because of the fog, travel ceases. Consequently, there are no mail deliveries and no ships arriving with news from foreign countries. Moreover, visitors stay away from the inner rings of Regent's Park and Hyde Park, where elegant people tend to congregate. And, because autumn has stripped the leaves from the trees, killed the flowers and fruits, and banished birds, bees, and butterflies, there is nothing left to cheer those venturing through the city.
.......According data provided by Lonely Planet, Weather2Travel, and Frommers (Web sites), London has two hours of sunshine on an average November day. Rain falls on twenty-one days. 

Text of the Poem

           No sun—no moon!
           No morn—no noon—
    No dawn—no dusk—no proper time of day— 
           No sky—no earthly view—
          No distance looking blue—...............................
    No road—no street—no "t'other side the way"—
No end to any Row
          No indications where the Crescents go— 
           No top to any steeple—
    No recognitions of familiar people—..................................10 
  No courtesies for showing 'em—
  No knowing 'em!
    No traveling at all—no locomotion— 
    No inkling of the way—no notion— 
          "No go"—by land or ocean—.............................15 
           No mail—no post—
           No news from any foreign coast—
    No park—no ring—no afternoon gentility— 
           No company—no nobility—
    No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,..................20 
        No comfortable feel in any member— 
    No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 
    No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, 
  November!

Notes

t'other side the way: The other side of the street.
Row: Street with the word Row in its name. Examples of such streets in London are Savile Row, Paternoster Row, Ironmonger Row, Church Row, Rochester Row, and Rotten Row.
Crescent: Series of linked buildings formed into the shape of an arc or a crescent. An example is Lansdowne Crescent in London.
No inkling of the way: No directions, signposts, etc., indicating how to go from one place to another.
ring: Ring-shaped gathering place in London's Hyde Park or Regency Park. People would meet there to socialize or exchange news.
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Tone

.......Even though the poem focuses on the dreariness of a November day, its tone is playful and lighthearted because of its exaggerations, its repetitions, and its extended pun: a series of lines beginning with no and a final one-word line NOvember.

End Rhyme

.......The poem contains rhyming couplets in lines 1-2, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 16-17, and 18-19. In addition, Line 3 rhymes with line 6, line 20 with 22, and line 21 with 24. A rhyming triplet occurs in lines 16, 17, and 18. 

Verse Format

.......The poem consists mainly of iambs in lines of varying lengths. Following are examples of iambic dimeter, iambic trimeter, iambic tetrameter, and iambic pentameter.
 

    .....1..................2
    No SUN..|..no MOON.....................................................................(Line 1, iambic dimeter)
     

    .....1....................2............... 3...........
    No SKY..|..no EARTH..|..ly VIEW.................................................(Line 4, iambic trimeter)
     

    .......1...............2.............. 3...............4
    No NEWS..|..from AN..|..y FOR..|..eign COAST.................................(Line 17, iambic tetrameter)
     

    ........1....................2.................. 3................4.............5
    No DAWN..|..no DUSK..|..no PROP..|..er TIME..|..of DAY.............(Line 3, iambic pentameter)
     

Alliteration

.......Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound. It occurs frequently in the poem to enhance its appeal to the ear. 

No morn—no noon— (line 1)
No dawn—no dusk—no proper time of day— (line 3)
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees (line 22)
Anaphora

.......Anaphora is the repetition of a word or group of words at the beginning of a phrase, clause, or sentence. Anaphora occurs throughout "November" with the repetition of no at the beginning of each line, as well as within some lines. 

Hyperbole

.......Hyperbole is an exaggeration. Hood uses it effectively in the poem to add a humorous touch. 

Study Questions and Writing Topics

1...Write your own poem about a month of the year. The tone, verse format, rhyme scheme, etc., are up to you.
2...List additional examples of alliteration besides those mentioned above. 
3...Why does London have so many foggy days?
4.  Write an essay about London's "killer fog" of 1952, in which thousands of people died. Use Internet and library research. Click here for a good place to begin your research. 

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