Symbol and Poem

Topics: Literature, Poetry, Symbol Pages: 2 (644 words) Published: June 4, 2012
I chose to read the poem “Chivalry” by Carol Muske-Dukes, and enjoyed reading it. The poem was pretty easy to read and used some good literary elements. The elements that make this poem stand out are the setting, tone, and the use of symbolism.

I understood the poem the first time I read it, but I read it two more times to get a better understanding of some of the vocabulary. This poem is about a man that is holding his dead wife in his hands and then decides to set her body in a fire kind of as a burial. It comes across as the man really cherishes his wife and puts her on a pedestal. In the poem it says that “the sky filled with crows, he held her up for a moment” and I picture this as him saying goodbye. I think it also shows his love for her.

The first element of literature that I like in this poem is the setting. The author does a great job of portraying the setting and I could picture it very easily. The setting is in the “holiest city on earth”, the man is standing on some steps that lead to water, but also lead to fire. I think this is saying that he has the option to put the body into the water or into the fire. It also takes place a long time ago because they are talking about chivalry, which I believe has to do with knights, bravery, and honor.

The next element that I enjoyed from this poem is the tone that the author uses. I think there are two different tones that she is portraying, a sad tone and a stern tone. At the beginning when she is talking about the man holding is dead wife in his arms the tone seems sad. Then it changes when she is talking about the love and chivalry he is showing as well. I imagine her talking about the man’s courage in a very stern tone of voice.

The last element that I noticed is symbolism and I think there were a few symbols. She says that “the sky filled with crows he held her up.” I think that the crows are symbolizing heaven. The other symbol I noticed is the stone steps, and to me this...

References: Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from Ashford. Edu
Literary Theory and Poetry. (2001). In Encyclopedia of American Poetry: The Twentieth Century.
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