Why Are Your Poems so Dark?

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The poem "Why Are Your Poems So Dark" by Linda Pastan exposes that no matter who you are, darkness will always be prevalent in your life. She does this by using an evident contrast between light and dark throughout the entire poem. Of major note in this contrast are the speaker's point of view, Biblical allusion, and rhetorical questions.

One of the biggest contributors to the overall theme of the poem is the author's use of point of view. The point of view in the poem is second person. Pastan uses this point of view in order to draw the reader into the poem. By using second person, Pastan makes the reader feel like his being directly spoken to by her. She uses this point of view to make the reader feel like a participant in the poem. When the author uses words like "you" (lines 13-14) and "your" (line 12) she makes the reader feel included in the poem.

Pastan also uses a Biblical allusion to contribute to her overall theme that darkness is everywhere and cannot be escaped. In lines 7-8, Pastan states "When God demanded light, He did not banish darkness." This statement uses religion as a statement of importance in the world. The following stanza, "Instead He invented ebony and crows" (lines 9-10) explains how God dealt with having darkness in the world and also how He represented it.

The third contributing factor to the overall theme is Pastan's use of rhetorical questions. The first line of the poem "Isn't the moon dark too," starts off the poem by asking a rhetorical question. The way the line is written forces the reader to put stress on the last word "too," making it sound like the author is posing a question. Line 2, "most of the time?" is almost considered a separate question from the first line. It has an almost unsure tone to it that makes the reader wonder if what is being said is true. Line 3, "And doesn't the white page seem unfinished" poses another question even before the sentence is finished. This stanza highlights how light in the...
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