Crossing the Swamp

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An anonymous author once stated, “There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity... when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.” This quote states that life often hands us struggles that we must overcome. Some are often easy and others are rather hard. Mary Oliver’s poem, Crossing the Swamp supports the quote stated. Over all Oliver’s poem depicts a struggle of life that one must overcome, hence the title. In Mary Oliver’s poem poetic devices are used to achieve the literal meaning as well as establish a relationship between the speaker and the swamp. In the poem the use of imagery, structure, diction and metaphors convey the struggle between the swamp and the speaker. One of the techniques Mary Oliver used to demonstrate a relationship between the speaker and the swamp is imagery. The imagery behind her words throughout the poem adds a sense of sadness which the later converts to feelings of hope. The poem begins with darks words and phrases. In lines 5-8, Oliver states “branching vines, the dark burred faintly belching bogs.” The use of imagery portrays sorrow and these phrases already paint a dark picture in the reader’s mind. The reader automatically sees no sign of excitement between the speaker and the swamp. Lines 20-22 also establish use of imagery as the hardship of life. She states, “Sink silently into the black, slack earth soup.” This statement portrays how lost she is in crossing the swamp. However, later on in the poem there’s a sign of hope when states “I feel not wet so much as painted and glittered”. Hope is really shown when she mentions, “Given one more chance by the whims of swamp water.” In the end she overcame her struggle with the swamp of life. Oliver also uses narrative structure to develop a connection between the speaker and swamp. The structure of her poem tells us something. Instead of writing the poem in a linear way as most authors do, the...
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