Student number: 12056010
A Stylistic Analysis of « the lost baby poem » by Lucille Clifton
In this stylistic analysis of the lost baby poem written by Lucille Clifton I will deal mainly with two aspects of stylistic: derivation and parallelism features present in the poem. However I will first give a general interpretation of the poem to link more easily the stylistic features with the meaning of the poem itself.
In this poem Lucille Clifton is telling the experience she had when she had an abortion. In the title she announces directly what the poem is about. The fact that she uses the adjective ‘lost’ gives the impression that it has not been done on purpose or that she was not aware of what she was doing.
In the first stanza she explains what happened in a harsh way, she uses very powerful words: she is talking about ‘dropping the baby into the waters’, as if she thinks that at the time she thought about it as something she had to get rid of, something without any value running ‘with the sewage’. Then she uses the idea of drowning and being drowned as if it was a murder. Through all this choices of vocabulary we can guess that she regrets what she did, she is questioning herself and accusing herself.
The second stanza concerns a future that might have happened: how it would have been like if she had taken the other decision (to keep the baby). Despite the tone full of regrets she has on the first stanza, in this one she explains that at the time she was poor: ‘no car’, ‘disconnected gas’. Then we learn that the baby would have been given to adoption: ‘to watch you slip like ice in strangers’ hands’. In spite of all these circumstances we feel that she regrets her decision: she would like to be able to tell her potential baby the reasons of her decision and more.
In the final stanza she’s saying that she will accept any punishment and judgments: ‘let the rivers pour over my head’, ‘let the seas take me for a spiller’ because she decided of this...
Bibliography: * Short, Mick, Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose (London: Longman, 1996).
* Macleod, Norman, ‘Stylistics and the Analysis of Poetry: A Credo and an Example,’ (Journal of Literary Semantics, 2009)
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