Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hello professor,

As per your recent request, I am going to add some explanation to my analysis of Nona Shuttlevoer’s lamentation from Week 2.  Forgive me as I posted my analysis early in the week, and was unaware of the higher standard set by later analyses... also it was not clear from the instructions that more than simple identification was required.  In any case, thank you for the chance to rework my answer more to your expectations.
1.  In line 4, the poet uses the phrase “holy habitation”, which, due to the repetition of the ‘h’ sound at the beginning of two words in the phrase is an example of alliteration, whose definition as given by Van Gemeren is as follows:  “Alliteration is the phenomenon of repetition of similar sounds at the beginning of words.”

2.  In line 13, the poet uses the phrase “O ocean of life”, which, because it is a rhetorical address to an inanimate object, qualifies this usage as an instance of that subset of personification which Van Gemeren calls apostrophe.   I found the following definition from Wikipedia useful in picking this out: 

“Apostrophe (Greek ἀποστροφή, apostrophé, "turning away"; the final e being sounded) is an exclamatory rhetorical figure of speech, when a talker or writer breaks off and directs speech to an imaginary person or abstract quality or idea. In dramatic works and poetry, it is often introduced by the word "O" (not to be confused with the exclamation "oh").
It is related to personification, although in apostrophe, objects or abstractions are implied to have certain human qualities (such as understanding) by the very fact that the speaker is addressing them as he would a person in his presence.”
3.  In line 21, the poet refers to God as her “light and stronghold”, which I took to be an illustration of hendiadys.  In the Van Gemeren paper, the example they gave was very similar: 'light and salvation'.  In this exemplar, we are told that the use of these two terms intensifies the experience of God's beneficent action in the author's life.  In Ms. Shuttlevoer’s poem, it seemed the use of the two words 'light’ and ‘stronghold' could be understood together as one powerful expression which intensified a feeling of God's shepherding protection.  Again, Wikipedia offers a precise definition:
“Hendiadys (a Latinized form of the Greek phrase ἓν διὰ δυοῖν hen dia duoin 'one through two') is a figure of speech used for emphasis — "The substitution of a conjunction for a subordination". The basic idea is to use two words linked by a conjunction to express a single complex idea.
The typical result is to transform a noun-plus-adjective into two nouns joined by a conjunction.
...‘The kingdom and the power and the glory’ (from the Lord's Prayer) extends the principle, transforming the idea of a "glorious, powerful kingdom" into a sequence of three nouns joined by conjunctions.”
4.  In line 12, Ms. Shuttlevoer says, “For my lamentation stirs even the sea to life”, which seems to be a poetic exaggeration, making this an example of hyperbole.  The image of her tears and suffering rousing the mighty ocean to awaken go beyond the literal and are reminiscent of a similar example of hyperbole, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”.  Wikipedia tells us the definition of this poetic device:
“Hyperbole (pronounced /haɪˈpɝːbəli/ hye-PER-buh-lee; "HYE-per-bowl" is a mispronunciation) comes from Greek "υπερβολή" (meaning exaggeration) and is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, and is not meant to be taken literally.
Hyperbole is used to create emphasis. It is a literary device often used in poetry, and is frequently encountered in casual speech.
Some examples include:
these books weigh a ton. (weigh a great deal)
I could sleep for a year. (for a long time)”
5.  In both the first and last lines of her poem, Ms. Shuttlevoer uses the bracketing phrase “Turn your eyes to me, O LORD, /and show me your presence once more”.  This envelope structure makes this an illustration of inclusio.   As Wikipedia defines it:
“In literature, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section, although whether this material should consist of a word or a phrase, or whether greater amounts of text also qualify, and of what length the frames section should be, are matters of some debate.”
Thank you for your help on this last item, professor, I admit I had overlooked it, on the one hand, and did not fully comprehend that the last line, though ending with the additional phrase “for your strength and deliverance upholds me” could still allow one to see this as an example of inclusio.
I trust that this more involved response is to your satisfaction.  I did not comment on my emotional response to any past of the poem, as it seemed in the instructions we were only considering the poetic devices.  If this portion remains as yet deficient, please accept my apologies, I am more used to writing poetry than to analysis thereof.

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