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Underneath Stevie Smith’s simple words and humour lie deep questions and fierce criticism

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Introduction

"Underneath Stevie Smith's simple words and humour lie deep questions and fierce criticism" A rather eccentric individual was Stevie Smith as her poems reflect. Her unique personality shines though out her work, demonstrating special preference for the bizarre and absurd. Smith possessed the talent of grasping serious issues of society and cloaking them in humor, while still displaying a philosophical insight into the human nature. Criticism, sarcasm and acrimony underlined all of her works and even reached beyond the confinements of her writing to become exploited continuously during conversations with her numerous friends at tea. The issue of the problematic nature of God runs throughout Smith's work. During the 19th and 20th century, the importance of a heavenly being in the daily lives of people began to fade. While not many voiced their new viewpoint about God, their interpretations of him is explained with Stevie's line of "What care I if good God be if he be not good to me" which is the preamble to the poem "Egocentric". ...read more.

Middle

Many of her poems display lonesomeness, world-weariness and occasional tragedy. None of these poems however, show any fear towards this dark thief that makes a living out of robbing lives. No. Smith did not dread death rather she welcomed it. This reality is evident even further in Stevie's "The River Deben". In this poem, the persona is wistfully daydreaming about inviting death by drowning and seems fascinated by that prospect. It is most interesting to read about the persona who (in her imagination) is sitting in the boat with Death on the other side. This situation hints at the possibility that Smith views Death as her loyal companion who is with her where ever she goes. The boat can also be viewed as the crossroad between life and death. On one end of the road or boat is death and on the corresponding end is life or "dawn's twinkle light". Whether the persona likes it or not, daylight will return since the darkness cannot stay because death "will not come so readily". ...read more.

Conclusion

beneath the lamp" (line12) and hear the "hissing rain" (line 18) and feel the "utter slime" (line 21). Smith also uses imagery to convey mood. From the previous example, the mood is foreboding and depressing. Stevie Smith also uses rhythm to create mood by combining metre, sentence structure, length of line and rhyme. The use of rhyme helps add amusement to her poems. Example: Each paving stone sardonic Grins to its fellow citizen Masonic Stevie conveys most of her poems in the form of a narrative verse. The style of writing poems like a story makes one think that the tale she is telling is true. Alliteration (like "good God" and "man of men"), metaphors, personification, sarcasm and irony, as well as her careful choice of words all help us to visualise and gain an understanding into the writer's intention. In conclusion, Stevie Smith is a rather unique individual. Her is witty and humorous and appears to be light-hearted. However, underneath the simple words and humour lie deep questions and fierce criticism. She addresses the issues of death, love, religion and poverty and tackles the frustration, anxieties and despairs of human life. ...read more.

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