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Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sonnet explication
by

Alexandra Armaos

on 21 September 2012

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Transcript of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay Love Is Not All -a younger female
-does not believe love is all-powerful Who is the speaker? talking to some form of lover
"I might be driven to sell your love" -her and her lover are not going through a difficult time right now Situation -not completely cynical
-love isn't a necessity, but it isn't unimportant Attitude Syllables:
-"cynical view": there are 10 syllables, very practical
-love is not everything though important: 11 syllables, more thoughtful
Comparisons :
Compared to basic necessities (meat, drink, slumber, roof)
Compared to life preserver (floating spar)
Compared to healing quantities (breath, blood, bone)
Conclusion: love is not any of these, won’t keep you alive with basic necessities, even with love will sink back into troubles again and again, and will not heal you from any problems that you have Techniques Form -Shakespearean sonnet
-first half is almost mocking those in love
-she reveals she is in love
-she would not trade love Meter goes along with her thoughts:
love is not a necessity to live
love cannot "save you"
speaker's own experience and thoughts about love
although love can be hurtful, she would not trade it for anything Theme -love is not all-important, but it is not unimportant
-the speaker holds it dear, but not that dear--her own confusion becomes more prominent Word choice: “Not all”: starts off with love is “not all” instead of saying love is something, in the negative gives the cynical view from the beginning
“Yet”: turning point word that changes from cynical view to showing that love is something to many people
“Man and men”: shows that speaker is female, kind of mocking men
“Pinned” “nagged” “moaning”: shows that when one gets down to the real troubles, one might realize love isn’t everything and want to give it away for more basic necessities, but here speaker shows that love is still something to her, doesn’t think “she would” give up love
Irony:“love isn’t all”… “yet”…” I might be driven to sell your love for peace”… “I do not think I would”
Goes through entire beginning saying all that love isn’t and making fun of people who take love as their everything, but shows herself in the end that she still thinks love is important in a way -recurring theme that love is not the most important thing, but it is not unimportant Title Edna St. Vincent Millay Born in 1892
Her mother divorced her father, and she grew up in an all-female household.
She went to all girls' school Barnard and Vassar.
Had many lovers although she was married at the time.
Fought for women's rights throughout her life
Was often hailed as the voice of "The New Woman Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
Full transcript