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"Breathless" Poetry Analysis (Wilfrid Noyce)

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Wilfred Noyce Breathless In the poem ?Breathless?, Noyce expresses the great difficulty and exhaustion he faces while attempting to climb a mountain. The poem shows the long distance and steepness of the hike that Noyce has trouble conquering. However, this poem does not focus the physical difficulty, instead opting to show his emotional turmoil, and the conflict within himself. The poem is not aligned properly, but is narrow and tall to resemble the steepness and shape of the mountain Noyce is facing. By turning the poem to the side, we can see a very rough path with many upwards and downwards slopes. This can also shows that Noyce?s road ahead is not smooth, and he will have to face many difficulties. ?Breathless? is a free-verse poem, with no actual pattern. The lack of structure shows how exhausted the poet is while climbing the 21,200 feet. There are also no stanzas in the poem, and the poet opts for one unbroken unit, resembling the long and seemingly endless journey that he is currently facing. In the poem, Noyce mostly uses short sentences and monosyllabic words. ...read more.


The poem clearly shows both the internal and external conflict of the poet, the internal conflict between his determination to reach the top and his feeling of hopelessness in the situation, while the external one being the struggle between himself and the cold and harsh mountain. Overall, the poem contains a negative and pessimistic tone, with several moments of self encouragement, but those hopes are dashed when the poet finds the ?stone no nearer? (line 35). In the poem, the poet compares his body with that of a failing machine. The words ?grind? (line 17) and ?wrench? (line 23) are typically used to describe the motions of a machine, but the poet currently uses them to describe himself. He also shows that his own body is starting to fail, organ by organ, starting from his heart, to his lungs, followed by his legs, tailed by his hands and limbs and finally his throat. This is similar to a failing machine with parts breaking one by one. Noyce shows that his body is slowly losing the will to live and fight against the relentless mountain, and is giving up hope, which serves to increase the feeling of hopelessness in the poem. ...read more.


Enjambment is used many times throughout the poem, like in lines 11 and 12 ?a flat step is holiday?. The phrase is split into two lines, resulting in the hastening of the pace of the poem and relating the readers to the rapid breathing pattern of the poet which prevents him from speaking full sentences. The anxiety of the readers who want to finish the poem quickly mirrors the way Noyce wants his experience to be over. Overall, the use of enjambment and the regular rhyme scheme and rhythm serves to give the reader a realistic and repetitive sense of climbing up the mountain step by step. Ultimately, the poet mainly focuses on his difficulty and determination to climb the mountain through his pain and exhaustion. This results in the lack of imagery used in the poem, as he does not stop to take in the scene, instead just looking down at his feet or up at the summit. This corresponds to the way difficulty and pain blinds us, causing us to lose sight of the beauty of nature, and what makes things worth doing. ...read more.

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