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"An Ancient Gesture" Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is an English project we had to do on Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem An Ancient Gesture

Jenna Beardsley

on 11 February 2013

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Transcript of "An Ancient Gesture" Edna St. Vincent Millay

"An Ancient Gesture" -Edna St. Vincent Millay By: Mairead, Jenna,
Nicole, Alyssa, and Zoe Her Work and Paraphrasing the poem Speaker and Poem's Structure The Speaker Structure Paraphrasing Biography, Poem and Title of Poem - Born on February 22, 1892

- In Rockland, Maine

-She had 2 sisters

-Raised by a single mother

-entered her first poem in a contest in 1912
-poem was called "Renascence"

-She won fourth place

-She received a publication in The Lyric Year

-She received a scholarship to Vassar College
- A gesture people have shown each other for a really long time...
Line: 1
She is reflecting on a sad memory.
Line: 2
A reference to the odyssey
Line: 3
You can’t keep doing the something all day every day.
Line: 4
You can’t keep starting over all night.
Line: 5
You get weary of doing the work for a long period of time.
Line: 6
When you have a feeling of hopelessness that something will never end
Line: 7
You literally do not know where your husband has been for a long time (years). Line: 8
You start crying a lot, bursting with tears.
Line: 9
Reinstates the feeling of hopelessness and has nothing to do.
Line: 10
She is reflecting while crying.
Line: 11
A gesture that is very old, but very real.
Line: 12
It is very well preserved, classic.
Line: 13
Another allusion to the Odyssey.
Line: 14
A gesture meaning something else.
Line: 15
The crowd overwhelmed him (Ulysses)
Line: 16
Penelope taught Ulysses to feel.
Line: 17
Penelope really cried and knew what it meant to be sad.

Allusions When I hear ancient gesture I think of ancient civilization and culture; how they lived, acted, and showed people how they felt. She will be talking about a gesture she is expressing to us. Title of Poem "An Ancient Gesture" Identify the speaker
• The speaker is a girl.
• The speaker is clearly upset, due to a loved one leaving them

• She is upset and is crying
• She is weaving to help forget her troubles
• She’s been “suffering” for awhile

• As she wipes her eyes, she realizes that others are crying too
• Ulysses learned the gesture of crying from Penelope Poetic Devices -The author compares her personal experiences with those of Penelope and Ulysses from The Odyssey.
-She also talk about her weaving experiences like those of Penelope. Metaphor -The poem can be viewed as a metaphor that compares someone's life to Penelope's. Hyperbole -"suddenly you burst into tears" You can't "burst" into tears, what she means is she started to cry a lot all in one moment. Imagery -"your arms get tired, and the back of you neck gets tight" • There are two stanzas

• Rhyme scheme is ABCDDDEEBFGHIGKL

• There is punctuation -She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for "Ballad of the Harp-Weaver"

-In 1943 Millay was the Sixth person and second women to be awarded the Frost Medal

- She was awarded this for her lifetime contribution to American Poetry

-She died October 19, 1950 (age 58) I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.
Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.

And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope...
Penelope, who really cried. Connection to her poetry Millay's interest in heterosexual relationships is a major theme in her poetry. In "An Ancient Gesture" she write about a husband and a wife. The wife is weeping over losing her husband. Millay had many different relationships and lost many lovers. This poem would have been inspired from that. Assonance -"I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron" Theme of the Poem The poem uses the timeless universal gesture of a crying woman wiping her tears to explore the theme of a wife missing an absent husband who might never return. "An Ancient Gesture" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_St._Vincent_Millay Credits www.poemhunter.com/edna-st-vincent-millay/ http://allpoetry.com/poem/8476191-An_Ancient_Gesture-by-Edna_St._Vincent_Millay http://lbieggs.xanga.com/478758636/item/ http://www.writework.com/essay/ancient-gesture Tone -The tone of this poem is somber and sadness Words we didn't know Throng - A large, densely packed crowd of people or animals
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