Free Verse Techniques Conveying Structure
An Analysis of “Spring” By Edna St. Vincent Millay
Composed in free verse, the poem “Spring” by Edna St. Vincent Millay contains many poetic elements that create a feeling of structure throughout. As free verse challenges the conventions of writing, so too, does St. Vincent Millay’s interpretation of Spring challenge societies conventional beliefs associated with the season. Millay uses various different poetic elements of writing as effective alternatives to conventional methods of prose such as use of quatrain, and an adherence to metric and rhyme schemes. Elevating itself from such conventions, Millay’s poem incorporates the use of personification, thought provoking questions, repetition, figurative language, both positive and negative imagery, and irregular sentence length. All these free verse techniques work harmoniously to successfully challenge conventional beliefs associated with Spring; portraying it negatively as an annual occurrence that is both ignorant and annoying. The free verse technique, personification, enhances the images portrayed in “Spring” by creating deeper meanings. Millay asks “To what purpose, April, do you return again?”(1) By referring to Spring as “April,”(1) one see’s Millay has given this season a specific name. The action of naming the season “April”(1) is an example of personification, giving an inanimate thing a woman’s name. Looking at the season from this sense, one can infer that Millay portrays Spring within the poem as an unsatisfying lover. This becomes evident when Millay states “beauty is not enough,”(2) as a reason for the seasons return. From a personified standpoint, one can interpret this as a lover’s inability to sustain a relationship with beauty alone. The element of personification is seen again when Millay professes “You can no longer quiet me.”(3) When Millay states this she provides Spring with the ability of a person to talk over another, silencing them....
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