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The Knight

Poem Analysis
by

AP Literature

on 13 April 2011

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Transcript of The Knight

The Knight
By: Elle Nelson, Tori Patterson, Liz Brinks, Brian Young, and Dylan Powers A knight rides into the noon, and his helmet points to the sun, and a thousand splintered suns are the gaiety of his mail. The soles of his feet glitter and his palms flash in reply, and under his crackling banner he rides like a ship in sail. A knight rides into the noon, and only his eye is living, a lump of bitter jelly set in a metal mask, betraying rags and tatters that cling to the flesh beneath and wear his nerves to ribbons under the radiant casque. Who will unhorse the rider and free him from between the walls of iron, the emblems crushing his chest with their weight? Will they defeat him gently, or leave him hurled on the green, his rags and wounds till hidden under the great breastplate? Theme Weight of duty The knight feels worn down by his obligations to be a champion and to protect the people, despite his own imperfection and weariness. The knight is a coward, contrary his outward appearance. Tone Point of View 3rd-person
Omniscient The narrator knows how people look at the knight, but he also knows how the knight feels, and about his inner struggle Irony Little boys dream of becoming knights, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. Diction Casque vs. Helmet vs. Mask Casque means helmet in French, but it also has connotations of an animal mask, or a restraining device. This points to the hypocrisy of calling such a thing "radiant." The fact that it is in French, the language of elegance, further shows the fraudulent nature of the knight's glory. "Mask" points to both the hypocrisy of the knight and his "honor," and to the "masking" of the pain that he must hide to bear the weight of his duty. Pitying the knight in his state of cowardice Prideful of the knight's courage and superiority Euphony/Cacophony

This poem doesn't have many harsh-sounding words, so it is mainly euphonious. However, this starkly contrasts with the imagery that these words evoke. Imagery Rich uses an interesting difference between sound and image in her words. "Rags and tatters"-
Makes one think of a destitute beggar, with no hope and no life to speak of. "Cling to flesh"-
Makes one think of a parasite, sucking out life, hope, and happiness. "Wear his nerves to ribbons"-
The horrors of battle, perhaps, or the ripping of flesh by a great force. (Duty?) Appearance VS Reality Levels of Usage Hidden Breastplate Paradox bitter jelly Weakness hidden until battle Word Order Rhyme 4th and 8th lines of each stanza Symbolism unhorse the
rider - kill him, take his honor Metonymy the green - battlefield Alliteration metal mask him hurled splintered suns knight rides set in a metal betraying rags and tatters Assonance crushing his chest Metaphor/ Simile The satire regarding the foolishness of the knight and his glory is a metaphor for the satirization of war in general. The majority of the poem uses a loose structure for its word order Rides like a ship in sail Personification Overstatement "And a thousand splintered suns
are the gaiety of his mail" The poem seeks to make sound almost ridiculous the way in which people see the glory and prestige of knighthood. "His palms flash in reply"
"The emblems, crushing his chest with their weight"
"A lump of bitter jelly...betraying rags and tatters" The personification in the poem serves to show the "victimitis" of the knight, how it seems the world is arrayed against him. Something that is traditionally sweet, made bitter and sour by the jaded outlook on the world that the knight posesses. Adrienne Rich (consonance) "Helmet points..." the walls of iron - armor The world sees the knight as glorious, while he is exactly the opposite.
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