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Figurative Language Project
Transcript of Figurative Language Project
A statement that appears to be self-contradictory but, upon further investigation, turns out to make sense.
“Antigonish.” Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, 2013. Web. 4 Sep. 2013.
Chambers, Tim. "Screams of SIlence." Net Poets. Passions in Poetry, n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2013.
Claassen, Sandra. "Figurative Language." Sandra Claassen: Figurative Language. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
"Examples of Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet?" - Ask.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sep. 2013.
"Fish Exaggeration Comic." Card Cow. Modern Ad, n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2013.
Jensen, T. "Oxymoron." The Pencil Made Me Do It. N.p., 27 Aug. 2012. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Mathias, Anthony. "The Paradox of Freedom." Poetry Soup. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2013.
"Pertrarch Rima, Sonnet 134 by Sir Thomas." PoemHunter. N.p., 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 5 Sep. 2013.
Poetry Foundation. 2013. Web. 2 Sep. 2013.
"The Window Paradox." Uncommon Pics. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2013.
"Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and hundreds more." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Quotes, Poems, Novels, Classics and hundreds more. Bartleby.com Inc., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
FourHalf Inc.. "The Living and the Non-living." English Channel. FourHalf Inc. , n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2013. HighBeam Research. "Encyclopedia.com | Free Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia.com | Free Online Encyclopedia. HighBeam Research, n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Internet Archive. "Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine." Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 7th Edition ed. New York: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2005. Print.
Institute for the sStudy of Coherence and Emergence . "Epi-Thinking: Restoring Sagacity to Common Sense." Epi-Thinking: Restoring Sagacity to Common Sense. Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence , n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Motion, Andrew . "Poetry Archive." Poetry Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Online Parallel Bible Project. "Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.." Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. Biblos, n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Poetry Foundation. 2013. Web. 7 Sep. 2013.
"The Literature Network: Online classic literature, poems, and quotes. Essays & Summaries." The Literature Network: Online classic literature, poems, and quotes. Essays & Summaries. Jalic Inc., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
Charles, Hannah, and Indya
Robert Frost, “The Tuft of Flowers”
"‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart,
‘Whether they work together or apart.’"
Upon first glance, this seems to make no sense. Contemplating it further will reveal the fact that men are always working together, even if they aren't physically working on the same project. This is because each small job a man does, whether alone or with company, is a part of a bigger picture and is serving the well-being of a greater cause. It goes with the idea that all things are connected in life.
Walt Whitman “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”
"As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,
As I watch’d where you pass’d and was lost in the netherward black of the night,
As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb,
Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone."
The phrase "transparent night" is an oxymoron. It seems to be self-contradictory because the darkness of the night makes it difficult to see while transparent suggests ease of vision through something. The use of this phrase could suggest that the night is very clear, in regards to the weather, or that there is sufficient light provided by the stars and the moon to see.
William Hughes Mearns, “Antigonish”
"Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish he'd go away..."
The first line of this stanza is a paradox, for how can you see somebody who isn't there? The answer lies in the context of the poem. This poem was actually inspired by reports of paranormal activity. Therefore, he is referring to a ghost whose presence he encounters even though it isn't physically there.
An exaggerated statement, usually untrue, used to add emphasis.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn”
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."
The last line is an examples of hyperbole. In this stanza, the shot of a firearm is described as "heard round the world." While not literally heard across the globe, this phrase emphasizes the attention this gunshot drew. Not only was it loud, but people all over the world became aware of it.
A figure of speech where a part of one thing is used to symbolize the whole of another
"Give us today our daily bread"
This bread stands for food as a whole or the necessities needed to survive. The word bread as a part of the line symbolizes the needed nourishment to live, as the whole of being able to thrive and live a plentiful and worthwhile life. This nourishment is needed for every portion of our lives
Ozymandias- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings
The "hand" in the stanza is refers to the sculptor that made the actual sculpture, representing the whole purpose of the passage, which is the completed sculpture. The "heart" is the passion that went into making the actual sculpture, thus making it come alive,, which was a big reason as to why he made the sculpture.
Something closely related to one thing is substituted for another
Ode to a Nightingale- John Keats
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
The "draught of vintage!" represents a bottle of wine, exemplifying its age as seen by the "vintage". It does infer these things without saying the actual words, which shows that it is a metonymy. It is also exemplified as a being a bottle of wine, by implying "deep-delved earth", meaning that it was stored in a cellar.
'Out, Out--'- Robert Frost
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work
He holds his hand in a literal way to not let the blood spill, but it also implies that the boy is in danger and he is hoolding his hand to make sure that this injury is grave and that he needs to protect his life, by holding it in.
Nine to Five- Roger McGough
"What I wouldn't give for a nine to five. Biscuits in the right hand drawer, teabreaks, and typists to mentally undress."
A "nine to five" is representing a stereotypical job, by swing the typical full time job with full hours, your own personal office space and other people that you work with. Based on the peom, he wants to get the full time job to fulfill his purpose in life. He uses this wording "nine to five" to a full time job, but with using this more colloquial phrase.
Giving something nonhuman human attributes and feelings
A Garden- Molly Peacock
"The swamp's spilled stomach is stared down by eyes in a garden. Seasons terrify, they terrify with their strict endurance and strict abandonment, like parents."
The swamp, in this poem, has a "spilled stomach", symbolizing the nervousness of it, because of the pressure implied by the garden and its staring eyes. The seasons are terrifying other things, due to its persistence of the repitition. There are multiple portions of personification in this poem, like the swamp, garden, and the seasons.
Spring and All- William Carlos Williams
"Lifeless in appearance, sluggish dazed spring approaches- They enter the new world naked, cold, uncertain of all save that they enter. All about them the cold, familiar wind"
"They" represents the plants bloom in the spring. They come in "naked", emphasizing the barrenness and lack of maturity/security, "cold", showing that they have a lack of knowledge and they are not experienced with their selves and surroundings, and they are "uncertain". I feel that they are comparing the new plants to babies/small children, due to both of their's unsurity of their new lives.
Footprints- Pak Mogwal- Translated by Uchang Kim
"With the tightening dragnet of the search party, mountain berries peep out in the snow like drops of blood, a stifled cry."
The berries "peep out", showing caution, they have "drops of blood", blood being something that everything has and can experience, and it has a "stifled cry", since they were surprised by this dragnet. They started to exclaim, but then quieted down, like people do when they are caught by surprised or not prepared.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell- William Blake
"Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence."
Prudence is showing regard and caution to matters or showing discretion and it is being compared to "a rich ugly old maid", showing a negative connotation towards it. Incapacity, which is a lack of ability and strength, and it is dating Prudence is being described as a woman and it also displays Incapacity as her date and companion.
An address or speech to someone that is absent and cannot hear the speaker or something that is inhuman that cannot comprehend what is being said
The Collar- George Herbert
I struck the board and cried "No more; I will abroad! What? shall I ever sigh and pine?..."
This is a personal explanation by the speaker and he is taking out his immense amount of anger and sorrow out on this board. He is not speaking about the board, but he is speaking to the board as something inhuman, taking out his own feelings and speaking about someone else that he misses and possibly loves.
Peace- Gerard Manly Hopkins
WHEN will you ever, Peace, wild wooddove, shy wings shut,
Your round me roaming end, and under be my boughs?
When, when, Peace, will you, Peace?
Manly is speaking direcly to peace, something that is a virtue and not human. He wants Peace to return to him and he exclaims how much better he would be with it back, exemplifying the gain that he would get like, have a better life, make better choices, and do better things.
Wild Nights - Wild Nights!- Emily Dickinson
Wild nights - Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Dickinson is speaking about phenomenons and occurances that she would like to participate in, bringing them in together and describing them as "wild nights". She goes on to decribe the details of those nights, exemplfying the wind of those nights later on. She is joyfully exclaiming to the world abotu those nights that she would like to have.
In this stanza, Marvell implies that the ferocity of the storm/weather around him is so great that it is equal to that which will occur when the world is ending. This hyperbole emphasizes the strength of the forces that surround him, especially because it is compared to the funeral of the entire world.
James Tate, “The Lost Pilot”
His face is corn-
mush: his wife and daughter,
the poor ignorant people, stare
as if he will compose soon.
He was more wronged than Job.
The hyperbole "He was more wronged than Job" is a biblical reference. In the Bible, Job loses everything as a sort of test of faith: his children, livestock, friends. He is covered in sores and is miserable for days. In saying that this man was more wronged than Job, the author emphasizes the pain and suffering that the subject is going through.
A condensed form of a paradox that consists of two contradictory words that are next to each other.
“To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick
Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
In this poem Herrick compares the young virgins, to rose-buds. Rose-buds are small, delicate, and beautiful, just like how a young girl may be beautiful with a blushed face, and small, delicate body. Rose-buds don't last long, until they are a rose, or in this case become a woman. Then the beauty fades and the leaves began to fall, the rose is dying, but it wasn't that long ago that it was a young rose-bud waiting to bloom. The use of this metaphor coherently backs the point that the speaker is trying establish.
William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
The line "Continuous as the stars that shine" is a hyperbole. This line is referencing the dandelions that the narrator has spotted. Even though there obviously aren't as many dandelions as there are stars, this exaggeration serves to emphasize how many there are.
Andrew Marvell, “The Unfortunate Lover”
No day he saw but that which breaks
Through frighted clouds in forkèd streaks,
While round the rattling thunder hurled,
As at the funeral of the world.
Keats is comparing the subject to an unravish'd bride of quietness, with a foster child that is slow time. We know it is a metaphor because he doesn't say that the foster child is like slow time. The use of metaphor gives the poem more complexity to urge the reader to read the poem more than once to get to understand what the speaker is trying to say.
"“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)" by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
William Carlos Williams, “Spring and All”
"By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast - a cold wind."
The phrase 'contagious hospital' is an oxymoron because a hospital is a place where people go to be cured but the word contagious implies that some sort of illness is being spread.
Dickinson is comparing hope to a bird. The metaphor lets the reader picture a bird singing a sweet tune as it is perched. The bird is always singing even when times are bad and is always there to comfort the speaker, asking nothing in return. The reader then uses that image of the bird and relates it to hope, and it is a perfect match. Also in the poem, Dickinson puts quotation marks around the word "hope," making the word itself look like it has wings.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, I.i.175-182
"Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate
O anything, from nothing first create
O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health
Still-walking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this."
This excerpt is filled with oxymora like 'loving hate,' 'heavy lightness' and 'feather of lead.' All of these contradictions serve to show how conflicted Romeo is because he is in love with someone that he believes doesn't love him back.
“Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
In this poem, Collins compares poetry to all of these different things... Poetry is compared to a color slide, a bee hive, a maze, a dark room, a day water skiing, and conflictingly as being tortured and beaten. With the use of extended metaphor, the reader gets a sense of all of the things poetry is like and makes their own decision on poetry from their own feelings and experiences from the comparisons.
"The Window" by Diane Di Prima
you are my bread
and the hairline
of my bones
you are almost
you are not stone
or molten sound
you have no hands
this kind of bird flies backward
and this love
breaks on a windowpane
where no light talks
this is not time
for crossing tongues
(the sand here
turned you with his toe
and you will
unspent and underground
Petrarch Rima, “Sonnet 134,” translated by Sir Thomas Wyatt
I FIND no peace, and all my war is done;
I fear and hope; I burn and freeze like ice;
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise;
And nought I have, and all the world I seize on;
That looseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison
And holdeth me not, yet can I 'scape nowise;
Nor letteth me live nor die at my device, [by my own choice]
And yet of death it giveth none occasion.
Withouten eyen, I see; and without tongue I plain; [lament]
I desire to perish, and yet I ask health;
I love another, and thus I hate myself;
I feed me in sorrow, and laugh in all my pain;
Likewise displeaseth me both death and life;
And my delight is causer of this strife.
This passage contains many paradoxes. The phrases "And holdeth me not, yet I'scape nowise" and "Nor letteth me live nor die at my device" seem confusing at first. They actually seem to mean that the narrator is stuck in some sort of situation that has no good way out. Something has made his life or some aspect of his life miserable, but there is no good way to end it or his life.
"Laundry" by Ruth Moose
All our life
so much laundry;
each day’s doing or not
flows off and away
to blend with other sins
of this world. Each day
begins in new skin,
blessed by the elements
charged to take us
out again to do or undo
what’s been assigned.
From socks to shirts
the selves we shed
lift off the line
as if they own
a life apart
from the one we offer.
There is joy in clean laundry.
All is forgiven in water, sun
and air. We offer our day’s deeds
to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer,
our arms up, then lowered in supplication.
In this poem, life is being compared to laundry. Certain parts in life are compared to socks and shirts. Life is laundry. There are bad (dirty) things in life, there are good (clean) things in life. Everything gets mixed together, and then each day, we ask for forgiveness from our sins, and our clothes are washed clean.
“she being Brand” by E.E. Cummings
she being Brand
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having
thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.
K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
minute i was back in neutral tried and
again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my
lev-er Rightoh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity
avenue i touched the accelerator and give
her the juice,good
was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on
brakes Bothatonce and
brought allofher tremB
Says less than is intended
Robert Frost, “Fire and Ice”
"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To sat that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice."
In this poem, Cummings relates driving a new car, to having intercourse with a virgin. Each and every point can mean that of driving a new car, but when looking further, more accurately means being with a virgin. It is being compared discreetly, so that only those paying attention will get the reward of knowing what the speaker is truly trying to say. With this poem taking place in the roaring 20's, it brings together two very popular things of the time and compares them to each other.
"Love Song: I and Thou" by Alan Dugan
Nothing is plumb, level, or square:
the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
I am no carpenter. I built
the roof for myself, the walls
for myself, the floors
for myself, and got
hung up in it myself. I
danced with a purple thumb
at this house-warming, drunk
with my prime whiskey: rage.
Oh I spat rage’s nails
into the frame-up of my work:
it held. It settled plumb,
level, solid, square and true
for that great moment. Then
it screamed and went on through,
skewing as wrong the other way.
God damned it. This is hell,
but I planned it. I sawed it,
I nailed it, and I
will live in it until it kills me.
I can nail my left palm
to the left-hand crosspiece but
I can’t do everything myself.
I need a hand to nail the right,
a help, a love, a you, a wife.
The tone of this entire poem is understatement, but the last line stands out as an example of understatement. When talking about ice as a means of destruction, all Frost says is that it 'would suffice.' This is a clue that fire and ice could be extended metaphors of something else, something less drastic than literal destruction and death.
The Love Song of Alfred Prucock- T.S. Eliot
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me
In the 3rd line, the "hand" represents the workers that were needed to do the work. This line emphasizes the hard work that needed to be done. This hand is just a part of the main idea, which is the work that is going on and is the overall ending goal of the day.
Ava Leavell Haymon, “The Witch Has Told You a Story”
"You are food.
You are here for me
to eat. Fatten up,
and I will like you better."
In this poem, if read on the surface, it seems as if the speaker is talking about building a house. The entire poem goes on about a building built by the speaker, but, when digging deeper, the speaker is actually talking about something else. It is actually about the speaker’s marriage. The speaker goes on to talk about how he built his marriage. It was not stable marriage; he would get drunk, have fights, and even abuse. They once loved each other, but now it has all went to hell. He is in too deep to get out, so he feels like he has no choice. He wants to commit suicide and wants his wife there with hi to do it. It stops there leaving us to decide if he followed through or not, to decide if his house that he built collapsed and was destroyed. This is a controlling metaphor, because the entire poem is being controlled by the metaphor, having a totally different meaning.
"A Certain Kind of Eden" by Kay Ryan
It seems like you could, but
you can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that.
You’ve overprized intention,
have mistaken any bent you’re given
for control. You thought you chose
the bean and chose the soil.
You even thought you abandoned
one or two gardens. But those things
keep growing where we put them—
if we put them at all.
A certain kind of Eden holds us thrall.
Even the one vine that tendrils out alone
in time turns on its own impulse,
twisting back down its upward course
a strong and then a stronger rope,
the greenest saddest strongest
kind of hope.
The tone of this poem is understatement just because of the nature of the subject. The speaker is telling these children, in a very blunt fashion, that she is about to eat them. The line 'Fatten up, / and I will like you better.' is an understatement. The connotations associated with cannibalism are negative and are much more complex than a simple demand than 'Fatten up,' suggesting that there is a larger implication or purpose for this.
William Carlos Williams
“This Is Just To Say”
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
“The White Porch” by Cathy Song
My hair, freshly washed
like a measure of wealth,
like a bridal veil.
Crouching in the grass,
you would wait for the signal,
for the movement of curtains
before releasing yourself
from the shadow of moths.
Cloth, hair and hands,
smuggling you in.
This entire poem is an understatement. The author means to say much more than he has written. This poem is about more than plums. It is about a relationship, filled with apologies, care, and compassion.
"The Duchess to Her Readers" by Margaret Cavendish
A Poet am I neither born nor bred,
But to a witty poet married:
Whose brain is fresh and pleasant as the Spring,
Where Fancies grow and where the Muses sing.
There oft I lean my head, and listening, hark,
To catch his words and all his fancies mark:
And from that garden show of beauties take
Whereof a posy I in verse may make.
Thus I, that have no gardens of my own,
There gather flowers that are newly blown.
"The Secret Sharer"- Joseph Conrad
“At midnight I went on deck, and to my mate’s great surprise put the ship round on the other tack. His terrible whiskers flitted round me in silent criticism.”
In this quote, the word "whiskers" represents the man's whole face. "Whiskers" could be used to describe the state of his face, like the rough and unshaven face of a sailor at sea. The whiskers represent part of his face, but it is implied that it is meaning all of his face, thus making it a synecdoche.
Bough Down- Karen Green
"In a corner, a cluster of lab coats made lunch plans."
"Lab coats" basically stands for scientists. These are people that wear lab coats for their profession and it implies that a group of scientists were making lunch plans. You can replace "lab coats" with scientists, since it is a stereotypical thing that is associated with scientists, making it a true metonymy.
Oh! Captain My Captain!- Walt Whitman
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
This is an exclamation by a sailor about his captain. The sailor is letting the captain know what he has and done and what has been done in general. In the end, the captain is dead and this sailor is also mourning for the captain that he liked, and especially, respected.
Anthony Mathias, "The Paradox of Freedom"
Can we ever be free, unless we’re alone?
Our freedom encroaches, like a cyclone,
Crushing and destroying those of next door,
Like a wooden house, their freedoms no more.
For every freedom we gain, others lose
We battle against someone else’s views
True freedom means that all are unbound
But this would mean that no freedom is found.
Each person could do whatever they please
They could kill and hurt and take an seize
Thus true freedom is but a paradox
So I’ll stay here behind my chains and locks.
The first line is a paradox that is explained throughout the rest of the poem. It suggests that freedom is not possible without solitude, which is not usually associated with freedom. Solitude is associated with isolation and entrapment, not free will to do whatever you want. Mathias argues that freedom itself is a paradox without solitude because the freedom of one person involves the exploitation of the freedoms of another. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve freedom unless completely alone.
Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"
" But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave's a fine and private place
But none, I think, there do embrace."
This excerpt is an understatement. Usually, when people talk about the grave, they are morbid and serious. When Marvell simply states that none enjoy the grave, he is making an obvious but effective point. He is reminding his audience that nobody enjoys being dead, so it is best to enjoy life while you can.
Tim Chambers, "Screams of Silence"
"Begone ye screams of silence, harbingers of pain
Cloaked in isolation, you mock in harsh disdain
My soul is torn asunder, I curse you, God of Hell
As you pierced my tortured soul, what horrors I befell."
The phrase 'screams of silence' is an oxymoron. The word scream implies a loud cry of agony or fear while silence is associated with peace and calm. In saying that a scream is silent, it is suggesting that the scream is not physical. Rather, it leads the reader to assume that the scream is something emotional or mental, an internal conflict of agony or despair that is muffled by the fact that it isn't a literal scream.
The speaker is talking about their spouse, who is a poet, and comparing their spouse’s brain, and ability to write poetry, as being as fresh as spring. This use of comparison gives us a sense of how well the poet in the poem, can write poetry. while reading it, we can feel cool, fresh spring spring air, with all of the pleasant spring blooms. It helps us relate with the speaker.
"The Wound" by Tom Sleigh
When I woke the darkness was so thick,
So palpable and black that my eyes
Seemed blind as stone staring into stone.
In this poem, Sleigh compares the pitch black darkness as to being so dark that it is like not looking at anything at all, which would be like two stones loking into each other. He makes this comparison by using the word "as" making it a simile. By using a simile, it adds to the element of the poem, making it more detailed, illustrative, cohesive, and interesting.
"Of a girl, in white" by Harryette Mullen
Of a girl, in white, between the lines, in the spaces where nothing is written. Her starched petticoats, giving him the slip. Loose lips, a telltale spot, where she was kissed, and told. Who would believe her, lying still between the sheets. The pillow cases, the dirty laundry laundered. Pillow talk-show on a leather couch, slips in and out of dreams. Without permission, slips out the door. A name adores a Freudian slip.
The use of the word slip has two meanings: meaning petticoat slip or giving someone the slip. This adds to the poem allowing some people to picture it one way, while others will picture it another. The word choice, using the word "lying" could mean telling a fib, or laying down, which also gives people different images of the poem's meaning.
"Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare
Romeo: Give me a torch,-- I am not for this ambling; Being heavy, I will bear the light.
Mercutio: Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.
Romeo: Not I, believe me: you have dancing shoes, with nimble soles: I have a soul of lead, so stakes me to the ground, I cannot move.
Being “heavy” meaning sad (also play on words with heavy as in weight), Romeo will bear the light (as in sunlight, but funny because it could be taken as lightweight.) Even though Romeo is talking about being sad and carrying the light, the word choice adds a little comic relief.
The nimble soles (of his shoes) is then put with his soul (not shoe sole) of lead (which means he has a heavy or sad heart, but also can’t dance.)
"The Two Gentlemen of Verona" by William Shakespeare
Panthino: Lance, away, away, aboard. Thy master is shipped, and thou art to post after with oars. What's the matter? Why weep'st thou, man? Away, ass, you'll lose the tide if you tarry any longer.
Lance: It is no matter if the tied were lost, for it is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied.
Panthino: What's the unkindest tide?
Lance: Why, he that's tied here, Crab my dog.
A play on words that relies on a word having more than one meaning or sounds like another word.
A simile is an definitive comparison between two things by using words such as: like, as, than, etc...
A metaphor that is extended throughout the entire poem, where the actual poem’s principle is what's being compared.
Makes an extended comparison in which part or all of the poem has of a series of metaphors all comparing the same thing.
Makes a comparison between two unlike things, but without the use of like or as.
In these few lines, Lance uses Panthino's choice of words to make a joke. Panthino is talking about the ocean tide and Lance acts like he doesn't understand what he is saying by using tied, like tied with rope. This makes Pantino confused and the reader and audience gets a laugh from word choice, which is comic relief.
"Moonlight" by Paul Verlaine
Your soul is like a landscape fantasy,
Where masks and Bergamasks, in charming wise,
Strum lutes and dance, just a bit sad to be
Hidden beneath their fanciful disguise.
Singing in minor mode of life’s largesse
And all-victorious love, they yet seem quite
Reluctant to believe their happiness,
And their song mingles with the pale moonlight,
The calm, pale moonlight, whose sad beauty, beaming,
Sets the birds softly dreaming in the trees,
And makes the marbled fountains, gushing, streaming—
Slender jet-fountains—sob their ecstasies.
In this poem, the speaker is comparing a person’s soul, probably their lover's, to a landscape fantasy. The speaker puts it as if he can see into that person's soul and see all that is going on. If Verlaine wasn't to have used this comparison in this poem, it would not have been near as rich.
In this poem, the speaker is talking about her hair. She is comparing her hair as her wealth and a bridal veil. When she says her hair is a measure of wealth, the reader uses the connotation of wealth and related it to gold. The reader can picture her long, beautiful, golden-blonde hair, falling around her shoulders and face, as if it were a bridal veil.
This poem is about a garden, with vines growing in it. When looking into the meaning of these vines in the garden, the vines represent love. The speaker is talking about their spouse, who has cheated. They are in too deep, their love can't be taken away, yet the other lovers love also can't be taken away either. It has been going on for too long. The speaker has found out about their spouse cheating on them, but still holds on, no matter their rash impulses to go away. Even if the speaker wanted to leave their spouse, they couldn't because the speaker is still in love, and still holds on to what they had. The use of controlling metaphor is perfect in this poem. It gives the reader a compelling sense of what is going on in the poem. The reader has to read it and completely digest it piece by piece to understand it in it's entirety.
This poem is speaking of the world and nature being seen through a window. Each time it is being compared to something that gives us a better picture about it. The speaker feels as if they can't experience nature from behind the glass. They need to experience it. The wind, smells, sounds, and feelings are all kept out by the windowpane. The speaker is so close and can see it all, but never truly experience what the world is like.