The Sloth: Paying Attention to Detail
Theodore Roethke, a twentieth century American poet, was a pioneer of poetry by varying his use of form and focus of attention in his writings. Due to intricate childhood history, including his father passing away and uncle committing suicide, his creative life was affected. Furthermore, shaping the way he writes from a young age. In “The Sloth”, Roethke insinuates that humans can be lethargic and tiresome through his use of figurative language, traditional and organic influences in the formation, and extended metaphor. Undoubtedly, figurative language plays a major role in poetry. Roethke uses a hyperbole in line 3, when he says “He thinks about it for a year”. Such figurative language, exaggerates how long the sloth actually takes to respond to a question. Additionally, he uses personification in several lines of the poem (lines 3, 6, 9, 12), supplying the sloth with human qualities such as thinking or assuming. The indicated figure of speech helps establish the extended metaphor of how careless humans can be throughout the poem. Repetition is used towards the end of the poem (line 12) to stress the actuality that the sloth knows the answer to the previously asked question, however is not willing to reveal the answer. Again, proving the hesitation and indifference traits humans possess. Roethke conveys continuous symbolism, by using the sloth as a representation of human life. Accompanying the previously stated, the consolidation of both traditional and organic influences in his poetic composition contribute to the general perception of the poem as well. Roethke’s use of maintaining a consistent number of lines, three in each, per stanza demonstrates traditional qualities. However, he divides his poem of twelve lines into four three-line stanzas. He obeys end-stopped line by using customary punctuation when needed at consecutive ending points of lines. Also, a constant use of end rhyme scheme benefits the development...
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