The feeling of loneliness and powerless (or

The Courage That My Mother Had – Edna St. Vincent MillayThesis: The embodiment of the mother’s characteristics in an heirloom is visualized by juxtaposition, visual imagery, and the variation of tones throughout the poem symbolizing the daughter’s desire for courage.TitleThe word ‘courage’ can represent multiple meanings such as; bravery, firmness or fearlessness, but in this poem, courage means all of those things but are interpreted in other words. The word had, led me to believe 3 things; that the mother had died, she lost that courageousness, or that an antique of some sort may represent the word ‘courage’.The mother did die, and this poem was a ‘tribute’ for her, describing who she was.Also, this poem contradicts the title because the title appears grateful, happiness and joy but the poem itself shows sadness, sorrow and grief.Form/ArrangementThis is a lyric poem that focuses on who the mother was as a person, her characteristics and personality.Tercet poem; 3 quatrains, and apx. 8 syllables per line. Each line is in iambic tetrameter; the poem has a song like rhythm. The rhythm conveys sincerity and vulnerability of the mother. Each stanza has a complete thought – Also, it is similar to how multiple lines obtain their own meaning.The rhyme pattern is ababcdcdefeg; benefits the flow of the rhythm.There are slant rhymes at the end of stanzas 1 and 3. ToneThe speaker’s attitude is longing and admiring; examples are the diction used.The tone throughout the poem also acquires diverse and various emotions describing the misery and sorrow of the speaker claiming for guidance and vitality. And, the shift in stanzas intertwine with the speaker’s emotions affecting the tone by alternating from one feeling to another. -BipolarStanza 1: Sense of admiration; roots her attitude (speaker) to become appreciative, glad and gratefulStanza 2: The 1st stanza influences the emotion by smoothly shifting from the admirations of the mother to interpreting her personality through a brooch.Stanza 3: Speaker is longing for courage, and obtains a heartache. The mood and the tone alternates from grateful to anger and regret which in the end leads to the feeling of loneliness and powerless (or the daughter).JuxtapositionLine 2 – the writer uses juxtaposition and personification to represent the contrast between real death and imagined life; the thought of that the mother is dead and brought that trait of courage with her, which certainly one can not.Line 5 – the ‘golden brooch’, is a contrast to rocks and granites. It also epitomizes the mother’s personality because back then, those who wore brooches usually represented women with beauty or delicacy.Line ? – there is a irony and a paradox, the speaker mentions how she treasures the brooch but is willing to give it up. She understands how the brooch is just an item/object, and is not what she needs at the time being. Visual ImageryLine 3 – the line symbolizes where the mother’s from (New England) and where she originated. A metaphor to rock/minerals and how they form or come to be, which are from quarries. (quarried)Line 4 – It emphasizes the mother’s strength through visual imagery and where her grave might be (on a hill or at the side of a hill).Line 11 – the last literary device used is simile, to express that the speaker envies the mother’s strength.Overall diction, connotations and synecdoches; such as the words; courage, rock, quarried, granite, thing; expresses the feelings of strength and firmness.Also one can find a connection between these words and compare them to the mother; such as how the rock represents the mother, that is from a quarry (New England) who slowly formed into a granite (who she was personality-wise; growing, courageous). The usage of the word ‘thing’ in line 10, provides the reader a hint as if the ‘courage’ that the speaker’s been demanding for is an object. b/c courage is a characteristic/trait that cannot be given away. Although, an important object may represent the feeling of courageousness such as an heirloom.Conclusion : Thus, the mother’s heirloom is allegorized through Edna Millay’s intricate weave of juxtaposition and visual imagery which provides the reader with tone to further intimate the poem.


I'm Isaac!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out