English Poetry

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Assignment #1

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...
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