Compare the ways in which two poets use the symbol of a rose and explore the effects of their words upon the reader.
A rose is most commonly known to represent love and affection towards another person. However, it can be used to symbolize the opposite feelings as the reader understands in the first poem, A Gift of a Rose. Both poems, A Gift of a Rose and A Red, Red Rose describe the rose, but in two very contrasting aspects of love and desire and hatred and blood.
A Red, Red Rose, written by Robert Burns, uses positive connotations of the word ‘Rose’ to describe his affections to his love and uses the traditional cliché of a rose to show this. Robert Burns uses a rose in a conventional way to declare his love in a Sonnet form as one would have done in the 18th century. Through the use of repetition of the word ‘Red’ in the title, it suggests a deep and matured love for the other person. Burns confirms this idea of deep love when he says, “So deep in luve am I,” telling the reader directly what the poem is about. The poem also consists of hyperboles which also show the depth of his love as he is comparing her to all the things he finds beautiful or fascinating, such as “a red, red rose,” which is also how he sees her. By using a capital letter at the beginning of the words ‘Luve’ and ‘Dear’, it emphasises his affection for the other person and makes the poem seem more loving and affectionate.
In contrast, A Gift of a Rose, written by Fred D’Aguiar, does not use a ‘red, red rose’ as a cliché, but instead subverted the word to describe discrimination, hurt and open wounds, with violent diction, metaphorical phrases and negative connotations. This poem describes a discrimination against a black person. The use of a red rose in this poem is to symbolise violence, anger and bloodshed. The use of a red rose gives a sarcastic tone to the poem, reflecting on the way black people were treated at the time. Metaphors such as “a bunch of red roses”, meaning...
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