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Reading Response to [Stars Around the Beautiful Moon]

Updated on October 4, 2013

Plagiarism is bad!

Please use this as an example only. I'm posting my personal reading responses because I've met so many people even in college that don't know how to write them. There are many different kinds of reading responses, this is one version.

 Not sure if this is the origination but it is where I found it.
Not sure if this is the origination but it is where I found it. | Source

A Formalist Reading of “[Stars around the beautiful moon]”

“[Stars around the beautiful moon]” was written by Sappho around the mid-600s B.C.E. In “[Stars around the beautiful moon]” the speaker (we'll assume this is Sappho) talks about the moon and the stars around it. She says the stars around the moon will hide when the moon is full so that the moon can shine down on the earth instead of them.

I personally think the moon is very beautiful. Upon first reading this poem I assumed Sappho was really talking about the moon but we can find a deeper meaning in her words. I have come to believe that Sappho was talking about a person, not the moon. Because I know Sappho is known for her homoerotic material, it is easy to conclude that she was writing about a beautiful woman. When Sappho says the other stars "hide back […] / whenever all full she shines” (Line 2-3), she means that everyone else in the room paled in comparison to this one woman.

Sappho said this one woman was the most beautiful woman in the room. She said that not only did the others pale in comparison but that they did so by choice because this woman was so beautiful and elegant. The woman was given the spotlight. Sappho says that the stars simply hid “back their luminous form” (2) so that the moon could have the spotlight. It is not hard to understand what Sappho was trying to depict. After all, women still do this today. The stars hid their beauty the same way women today usually 'dress down' when going to a wedding so that the bride is, without a doubt, the most beautiful person there.

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