6 February 2013
“Snapping Beans” Analysis
The poem, “Snapping Beans” ( rpt. in Michael Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 9th ed.[Boston: Bedford, 2011] 782), by Lisa Parker, is about a student who came home from school to visit her grandmother. When asked by her grandmother how school was going, the student reveals that she likes it there even though she knows that her grandmother would not approve of her friends and what they talk about. The narrator uses figures of speech, language devices, and most importantly, imagery to help the reader understand on an emotional level of how the student may be feeling while sitting on the porch with her grandmother.
Lisa Parker uses two different kinds of figures of speech. She uses similes and personification. With only a single simile in this poem, Lisa Parker is extremely defined with the way she delivers her words. A small example is seen here: “…the revelations by book and lecture as real as any shout of faith, potent as a swig of strychnine” (17). What she means by the use of this simile, is that her mind is starting to open up to other ways of thinking, being open-minded. The line also warns that being too open-minded may be dangerous if you are willing to believe anything. This was one of the deepest parts in the poem to where it foreshadowed her conversation with her grandmother. Now, in Parker’s poem, single personification was used for the way the narrator felt about being far from home. For example: “…heartsick panels of the quilt she made me” (27). The panels of the quilt are heartsick because she cries into the quilt at night when she would miss her grandmother.
One of Parker’s alliteration phrases is, “I snapped beans into the silver bowl”(1). The s- sounds in snapped and silver and the b- sounds in beans and bowl are being emphasized. “…that sat on the splintering slats” (2), is another example of alliteration. An example of assonance in the poem is seen here: “…of the porchswing between my grandma and me.”(3). The vowel e- is stressed in the words between and me. Parker uses a lot of imagery in her poem, “Snapping Beans”. The majority of imagery is visual, for example: “as the sun rose, pushing its pink spikes…” (7). She also mentions the “fly-eyed mesh of the screen” (9), “the feathered tips of the cornfield” (11) and “the leather of her hand” (20). Parker uses tactile imagery only once when she wrote “…cupped my quivering chin;”(21). She also uses auditory and kinesthetic imagery in her poem such as: “ Grandma hummed “ What a Friend We Have In Jesus””(6) and “ how my stomach burned acidic holes”(33). These uses of imagery are important because she was explaining the way things would feel in her adversity.
In “Snapping Beans”, Lisa Parker uses the scene of a grandmother and her grandchild and makes it into a poem containing poetic devices. The use of figures of speech and literary devices helps the reader understand how the narrator is feeling. Imagery is the most used poetic device in the poem, helping to put the situation in perspective.