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A Birthday Analysis
Transcript of A Birthday Analysis
by Christina Rossetti
This means 4 pairs of 8 syllable lines
It gives the piece a sing song musical rhythm
Quite a childish structure-happiness makes her feel younger.
There is a strict rhyming pattern which makes the poem sound childlike to reflect that she is feeling free and happy like a child
The pattern is irregular highlighting that a birthday doesn't occur often
Born in England 1820 and died in 1894
She was incredibly religious
She wrote this poem aged 27
Excited about her birthday
Link to religion-how fulfillment from God is like a birthday gift
The theme of nature, particularly running through the first stanza, gives the idea that her happiness is natural and genuine and not forced.
'boughs are bent with thick-set fruit'
Gives the idea of lots of available natural happiness
'whose nest is in a water'd shoot'
Gives the idea of fertility and growth but also could show her happiness is fragile and vulnerable as if her happiness could break at any moment. 'Shoot' could be symbolic of new life-as if this natural happiness is making her see the world in a new way to before
Religious imagery which links to the story of Adam and Eve and she is comparing her happiness to theirs in the Garden of Eden before 'The Fall'
Reference to Noah's Ark and God's promise being fulfilled
'Carve it in doves'
This is also a reference to Noah's Ark. It represents freedom as well as being a symbol of peace and purity
'Raise me a dais'
This is a platform in church and is linked to an elevated religious status
'peacocks with a hundred eyes'
Peacocks are a symbol of Christianity
Royalty and Wealth
The theme of royalty and wealth, particularly shown in stanza 2 shows how special and important her happiness is.
'purple', 'silk' and 'down'
These are often worn by regal people highlighting how important and special her happiness is
'pomegranates' and 'grapes'
These were incredibly rare and special in the 1800's and so usually eaten by the rich
Symbol of resurrection and being born again
'gold' and 'silver'
These are expensive and show money and wealth as were only owned by the rich
This is a royal item making it sound like birthdays are special and highlighting the importance of the day
This is another word for squirrel and these were of high value at the time
Similes are over used throughout this poem to convey the poet's happiness by likening it to beautiful and colourful things. All the similes used have happy connotations and help to create imagery throughout.
'like a singing bird'
'like an apple tree'
'like a rainbow shell'
Repetition of 'my heart' in stanza 1
This emphasizes her happiness as is always emphasized when read due to the rhythm. Also it shows her faith
Repetition of 'my love has come to me' at end of each stanza
Gives the idea of joy
This is used in places to keep the iambic tetrameter structure
'gladder than all of these'
Shows how amazing her happiness is and wants to get that across
This makes the poem personal to the poet as if her 'love' (God and Jesus) just belongs to her.
Used a little bit in Stanza 1 to create a happy and calm mood to match with the meaning of the word 'halcyon'
Semi-colons are used to link ideas and also helps the poem fit into a prayer like structure which links in with the religious theme.
Used in Stanza 2 to gives the idea of the poet having power due to the happiness.
'Carve', 'Raise', 'Hang' and 'Work'
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.