Literary Devices

Topics: Life, Literary devices Pages: 2 (543 words) Published: April 9, 2014

In life, time passes quicker than anyone realizes. The time between the different points in people’s lives is generally overlooked and the value is not taken into consideration. In the poem “To the Virgins, To Make Much Of Time,” life’s steps are explained through two literary devices. Robert Herrick uses symbolism and personification to show how fast life passes through its stages.

Symbolism is a very important literary device in this poem. One example of symbolism is the line about the flower. Herrick writes “And this same flower that smiles today / Tomorrow will be dying” (line 3 and 4). The quote states that the flower is smiling today, but dying tomorrow. This shows how fast life can change. One moment things can be going great and then the next everything can be completely turned around by death or tragedy. Another example of symbolism is the line about the sun. The sun is described as getting higher, “The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, / The higher he’s a setting” (5 and 6). In this quote the sun represents one’s life passing by. The higher the sun gets, the older the person is getting. There’s nothing that can change or stop the inevitable. One last example of symbolism is shown in the line about one’s race being run. Herrick writes, “ The sooner will his race be run, / And nearer he’s to setting” (7 and 8). As the sun represents life, when the sun sets, one’s time has run out. It means the same as finishing a race. Once the race is over, you can only look back at what you’ve done, you have no more time to accomplish anything.

Another literary device Herrick used throughout the poem is personification. One example of Herrick’s use of personification is the line about the flower. Herrick writes “And this same flower that smiles today / Tomorrow will be dying” (4-5). In this line, the flower is given the ability to smile. Herrick gives it this ability to show happiness. Since the flower is at first viewed in a positive manner, it adds drama...
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