Term Paper: Poetry Edna St. Vincent Millay and Gordon Parks

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¶ … Courage that my Mother Had" by Edna St. Vincent Millay and "The Funeral" by Gordon Parks. Specifically it will discuss the literary devices the poets use to help the reader understand the subject of death and dying. Poetry is full of effective literary devices such as simile, metaphor, rhyme, and meter that help create vivid pictures in the poem and help the reader identify with the words. These two works graphically illustrate the pain of losing a loved one with their use of poetic devices and raw emotions.

Both of these poems concern death, specifically the death of a parent, which is one of the most difficult kinds of death to deal with. Millay's poem concerns the death of her mother, and she laments her lack of courage, something she wishes she had inherited from her mother. She uses simile "courage like a rock" to indicate the strength of her mother's courage, and by using figurative language, likens it to granite as well. By using these devices, she makes it quite clear she envies her mother's courage, and feels she has little of her own. He only uses twelve lines to convey these images, but they are extremely powerful and memorable because of her use of these devices. The reader feels her pain and understands her anguish and need for "courage" of her own.

Parks' poem is also about the loss of a parent, but nine lines give more information than Millay's twelve lines, if that is possible. Parks has returned home for the funeral of his father, and he notes it is after many "snows" or years away. Like most adults, he sees his hometown with fresh eyes, noting how everything looks smaller as you get older. He writes, "Raging rivers I once swam trickled now like gentle streams" (Parks). This use of simile is similar to Millay's, in that it takes something from the natural world (granite or a river) and uses a simile to describe as something completely different. They indicate how childish illusions often remain with people through adulthood, and it takes a major event, such as the death of a parent, for the truth to be understood. It also indicates how people often take their parents for granted until they are gone. Millay wants her mother's courage, but it is too late, and Parks realizes that many of his illusions of childhood are incorrect, and again, it is too late to correct any of those illusions he had about his father.

Millay also uses rhythm and rhyme to convey messages in her poem. The first and third and second and fourth lines rhyme with each other in a very common poetic rhyming pattern. Some of the lines use a little "poetic license" in their rhyming, (for example, grave with have), which shows she was also concerned with how the poem appeared on the page, as well as how it sounded when read out loud. The words look like they rhyme, and so they give the illusion of rhyming… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Poetry Edna St. Vincent Millay and Gordon Parks.  (2007, May 21).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/poetry-edna-st-vincent-millay-gordon/80376

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"Poetry Edna St. Vincent Millay and Gordon Parks."  21 May 2007.  Web.  7 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/poetry-edna-st-vincent-millay-gordon/80376>.

Chicago Format

"Poetry Edna St. Vincent Millay and Gordon Parks."  Essaytown.com.  May 21, 2007.  Accessed December 7, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/poetry-edna-st-vincent-millay-gordon/80376.