Denotation And Connotation In Lost Love By Louise Gluck

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In the poem, “Lost Love”, by Louise Gluck, word choice and literary devices are key features Gluck uses to deepen the heartache told within the poem.
When analyzing this poem, the reader understands the agony faced by the speaker based on the poem’s use of denotation and connotation. Denotation can be defined as “the dictionary meaning of a word” (Johnson, Arp 763) while connotation is described as “what the word suggests beyond what it expresses”(Johnson, Arp 763). The poem is about a child who dies suddenly at a young age. The speaker, the child’s sibling, talks about how the unexpected tragedy damaged those in their family. Denotation and connotation are both visible in the lines, “In between,/Not one alert look, not one sentence” (3-4). The dictionary meaning of alert is to warn someone when a
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The poet uses this definition to show that the family of the child had little to no warnings that the infant was nearing death. It also uses a connotations of alert, such as intelligent, to express to the reader that the child died at a young age. This is obvious because if a child does not have “one intelligent look” one could interpret it as if they have not yet matured and are still growing. Another example of connotation is when the poem states, “my mother’s heart became/very cold, very rigid” (12-13). Connotations of the term, cold, are words like forbidding or unwelcoming. These fit well in the poem because the author is using the word, cold, to convey the message that the mother is in a deep emotional state after the death of her child. Because of Gluck’s use of connotation, the reader can understand that the mother is heartbroken

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