The Nature of Things

Topics: Poetry, Meaning of life, Metaphor Pages: 6 (2611 words) Published: September 19, 2013
The Nature of Things
Michelle Davis
ACI1248F Introduction to Literature
1/17/2013

Using nature to symbolize feelings or thoughts in a poem or short story gives the reader an idea of what the author is describing, but it also gives them a picture to imagine as they read. The Oak by Tennyson might symbolize strength and wisdom and uses simile style to describe an object. The Road not Taken by Frost might symbolize the way certain choices affect our lives and uses a persona to reflect the characters thoughts. Both are poems and use the natural elements to describe how they are feeling or a choice they must make in life. I chose these two because they symbolize things that we all go though in life by describing choices we have to make by using two roads that can be travelled, or by describing an old oak tree to symbolize someone growing and maturing.

“Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to suggest alternative meanings in the words, or to evoke emotional or sensual responses.” (Poetry 2010 para. 3) Devices such as alliteration and rhythm are used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly, metaphor, simile, and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. (Poetry 2010 para. 3) When an author is describing what a character is going through in a short story, poem or a drama using these layering meanings give the audience or reader another way to envision what they are reading or watching. You could just say a guy was standing at a crossroad and decided to take one way and not the other, but then you would be missing the emotion and the meaning behind the choice he had to make. It reminds us that we will always face choices that will be hard but we must choose and live with the effects of that choice.

Themes tell us what a short story or a poem is about. It gives us an insight into what we will expect to be reading when we look at it. Themes can be anything we experience in life, from nature, love, birth and death. From the things we do every day, to the things that only happen on occasion and test our strength. Symbolism in a short story or poem provides a literal identity for something we may know of in another way. There are many different words that can be used to symbolize something. Trees can symbolize strength and wisdom, seasons can be used to symbolize the life span of a person. A fork in the road can symbolize the choices we make in life.

The Oak by Alfred Lord Tennyson written in 1889 is a poem that uses similes and figurative language to describe something to the reader. A simile is a direct comparison of two objects that are similar in at least one aspect. In this case he uses the seasonal changes of an oak tree to compare the development patter of a person’s life. (Clugtson 2010) Usually the two usages are kept apart according to context, but he draws the two contexts together. This makes it possible for him to create an implicit image later on. (Richards 1988 pg. 16) Trees have also been referred to as wise old trees; much like an old person is referred to as a wise person. So when we watch a tree grow from a little seed to a massive oak tree over several lifetimes we think about a child growing inside a mother, to being born and growing old and dying, just like an oak tree. Although the lifespan of the oak tree is greater the lifespan of the human we can still show a correlation between the two.

When we think about an oak tree and the aging and development process of it, one can compare it to the process of human life. We start off small and grow into strong adults. When I look at a tall oak tree I of think of the strength of the tree to have grown so tall and how much that tree has “seen” over the years. “A symbiotic...
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