Advice to a Discarded Lover by Fleur Adcock explores both pity and revulsion, through the use of figurative imagery; a dead bird, maggots and the remaining bones. They are an analogy of the dead affair. With the use of figurative language the images are seen, smelled and heard. An authoritative voice is created to advise and command attention, through the use of instructive language throughout the six stanzas. Personification, analogy, rhetorical question and the way a word sounds, are also used to express advice. Each stanza effectively develops in showing the growth of revulsion the speaker feels towards the addressee, through the use of figurative language.
"Think, now:" (line 1) commands attention through the use of instructive language, a sense of power is given to the speaker in this opening line. This is reinforced through the use of clipped diction when introducing the dead bird full of maggots. The short sharp sentence structure forces imagery in a sudden and severe way. The bird is "Not only dead, not only fallen," (2), fallen implies that sins have been committed, hence "a Discarded Lover" (title). Maggots are associated with death and decay, this bird is "full of maggots:" (3), a rhetorical question is asked; does the bird cause "more pity or more revulsion?" (4) There is no room to argue a response ask the speaker moves quickly into the second stanza, this provides the speaker with an opportunity to express his/her feelings in a rhetorical way.
Continued on from stanza one, stanza two explores both pity and revulsion "Pity is for the moment of death," (5), but after pity is felt a "change" (6) occurs and revulsion is revealed through the maggots of stanza one. The use of personification "creeping stench" (7) invokes an image of a sneaky, odious creature that envelops the bird with the disgusting smells. This stench is caused by the maggots seen "wriggling" (8) and "munching" (8) away at the dead birds decaying body. The maggots can be...
Cited: Adcock, Fleur. Advice to a Discarded Lover, 1934, Course Anthology, page 1
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