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Write a critical appreciation of T. Roethke's 'The Geranium' paying particular attention to a) tone, b) versification, c) diction, d) imagery, e) sound patterns and f) overall structure.

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Introduction

What themes are brought out in the Szirtes' poem and how are they expressed through the poet's choice of diction, imagery, style and symbolizes? Like many other poems Like a black bird has a mix of different ideas that are conveyed through the various themes portrayed in the poem. Each theme is brought out by the use of a variety of literary techniques that make the poem so meaningful and enjoyable to read. A theme that is quite obvious to the reader even by the reading of the first line alone is Nature. From the beginning of the poem to the end it is revealed as a strong, fierce storm that perhaps implies the difficult times in which the characters of the poem lived in. The poet often makes use of the contrast of the colours black and white such as in the line "Like a black bird against snow" and the contrast of warmth and cold as shown in the line "For its fierceness, hoping to grow warm". ...read more.

Middle

The poem's slow pace, which is demonstrated by the many caesuras, symbolizes the long wait and increasing suspense the children are feeling as the father draws closer. As the poem advances a sense of security and love is displayed by the poet's choice of words that show the children's deep anticipation such as in the line "His face was in shadow, but we'd see it soon". Another aspect that contributes to this feeling is the rhyme scheme of the poem. It is grouped in sets of a b a as if the first line and the last line are enclosing the middle one. This may symbolizes the children's desire to be embraced by their father and also the father's want to hold them once again after a long separation. Memory is also a theme that is quite important in the poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through out the whole poem a dark and cold atmosphere is exposed to the reader. We can image the narrator as he recalls these difficult times of his life and also get a sense of though they were hard he wishes for them to return. Maybe not the situation itself but the love and care of a family and childhood. The passage of time is also displays in the style of the poem itself. Even though there are a lot of pauses which symbolize how slow time passes when you are anxiously waiting for someone it also has many run on lines. These portray how time moves fast in the sense of years. How that memory seems so long ago and quickly time passed from that day or childhood to the time the narrator finds himself in now. Each theme shows different aspects and interpretations of the poem but combined together they form a marvelous piece of literary work full of depth and feeling. ...read more.

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