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English Poetry Essay

Part A 2. What are the symbolic significances of the candy store in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “The Pennycandystore Beyond the El” (Geddes, 318)? The candy store in “The Pennycandystore Beyond the El” is symbolic of a child’s youth. This poem is referring to the fact that our childhood passes by too soon and the candy store is a reminder that we need to seize every moment to enjoy it. The pennycandystore offers as a retreat or refuge to the bad weather outside and the stresses of everyday life.

It takes on the characteristics of an enchanted environment full of magic and wonder, where a child has the opportunity to enjoy their youth without any distractions. When “A girl ran in Her hair was rainy Her breasts were breathless in the little room” (Geddes 319), the safe haven of youth is invaded. The innocence of youth is lost and teenage adolescence is not far away. 3. After reviewing the entry on rhyme in Abram’s Glossary, identify three different types of end-rhyme in Theodore Roethke’s “Prayer” (Geddes, 140). What effects do the rhymes produce?

In “Prayer” there are several examples of end rhyme that add to the overall structure of the poem. These examples of end-rhyme are lose/choose, dead/head, and preserve/serve. The person praying is using the rhymes to give the poem a light and sarcastic feel. “Therefore, O Lord, let me preserve The Sense that does so fitly serve; Take Tongue and Ear-all else I have-Let light attend me to the grave” (Geddes 140)! This passage suggests that the person praying wants light to attend them to the grave, but they believe it to be such a lofty request that they are offering their tongue, ear, and everything else on their body.

The rhymes produce the notion that the prayer should not be taken too seriously. 4. What is the chief symbol in Lorna Crozier’s poem “Forms of Innocence” (Geddes, 675)? What does the symbol suggest beyond its literal meaning? The main symbol in the poem “Forms of Innocence” is the black swan, which represents the girl’s innocence. “A strange shape for innocence when you think of Leda but the girl insists it was a swan, black not white as you might expect” (Geddes 675). Black swans are a rare occurrence in nature and so is a girl’s innocence in life.

The swan “took flight, how it soared from the window beating its wings high above the stubble field” (Geddes 675) is a representation of the girl losing her virginity. The girl losing her virginity is the final step to losing the innocence that she once had as a child. 5. In “Epithalamium” (Geddes, 600) Louise Gluck uses alliteration, assonance and consonance. Identify an example of each and comment on the effect of these devices in Gluck’s poem. In “Epithalamium” an example of alliteration is “Here is my hand that will not harm you” (Geddes 601). Here the poet is utilizing softer sounds.

“There were others; their bodies were a preparation” (Geddes 600) is an example of assonance. An example of consonance is “the terrible charity of marriage” (Geddes 600). Both the example of assonance and consonance use harder sounds to convey a message. One could conclude that higher-pitched sounds aggravate the ear, while softer-pitched sounds appease the ear. The wife in the poem is describing her marriage to an abusive husband and uses sound to get her message across more clearly. However, it is ironic that the wife starts the poem with hard sounds and ends the attack on her husband with soft sounds.

6. How do any three of the plant/vegetation images function, or what do they convey, in Ezra Pound’s translation-poem “The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” (Geddes, 2526)? The plants and vegetation in the poem communicate a message about a wife’s love for her husband. In the beginning of the poem we are presented with the image of a little girl “pulling flowers” (Geddes 25). The flowers symbolize a budding or growing relationship between the little boy and girl. Then at the end of the poem the plants and vegetation take on a completely different meaning.

“You dragged your feet when you went out. By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses” (Geddes 26). When the husband left the house he dragged his feet and cleared the moss away, but he has been gone so long that it has grown back. Though the wife says the moss is too deep to clear away, she really just doesn’t want to let go of this last memory of her husband. “The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind” (Geddes 26), is a representation of a husband and wife whose relationship is falling apart and becoming more and more distanced.

Part B

“Bushed” by Earle Birney In the following essay I intend to use the linear method of explication to examine the poem “Bushed”. The title “Bushed” refers to someone that is lost in the bush and is made volatile by living in the bush too long. In the following explication I will analyze and dissect each stanza, gaining some insight on the different stages that a man goes through living in the bush. The first of seven stanzas begins with the creation of a “rainbow” that is “shattered” (Geddes 161) by lightning. When referring to the “inventor” of the rainbow it is God.

The rainbow is so big and overwhelming that “his mind slowed when he looked at it” (Geddes 161). The man in the poem is in awe of his natural surroundings. In the second stanza the man “learned to roast porcupine belly” (Geddes 161). This shows us that the man is learning how to use the resources around him to survive in the wilderness. In stanza three we are told the man is out at “dawn” regardless if it is “yellowed bright” or like a “fuzzed moth in a flannel storm” (Geddes 161). Here we become aware that the man is up at dawn regardless of the circumstances.

The fourth stanza opens with, “But he found the mountain was clearly alive” (Geddes 161). This is where we begin to see the signs of paranoia and isolation setting into the man’s mind. The man gives the mountain human qualities such as “feet” and the ability to fall “asleep” (Geddes 161) that further suggest he is slowly losing his mind. In stanza five the man mistakes ospreys for valkyries, “When he tried his eyes on the lake ospreys would fall like valkyries” (Geddes 161). This is a sign that the man is beginning to panic being in the bush alone and fear is taking its toll.

The “valkyries” as the man sees them are “choosing the cut-throat” (Geddes 161). The man is becoming delusional and believes birds want to cut his throat. Stanza six shows us the man succumbing to the intimidating force of nature. The “moosehorned cedars circled his swamps and tossed their antlers up to the stars” (Geddes 162). The man truly believes that the wilderness around him is coming alive. He seems to think, “the winds were shaping its peak to an arrowhead” (Geddes 162), “it” meaning the mountain. The isolation the man is experiencing is enhancing his fear, which is depressing his mind, and leading to insanity.

The final stanza is the man totally giving up and surrendering to nature. He is waiting “for the great flint to come singing into his heart” (Geddes 161). The “flint” meaning the peak of the arrowhead from the mountain to come and end his life. This poem is a commanding examination of one man’s struggle to survive in the bush. We see that the human mind cannot fully comprehend what nature is trying to say, but we should make every effort to listen nonetheless. Works Cited Geddes, Gary. 20th Century Poetry & Poetics: Fourth Edition. Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada, 1996.


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