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A Rose Is But A Rose: Parker vs. H.D.

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Compare & Contrast English 101 A Rose Is But A Rose: Parker vs. H.D Poetry can transcend time, space and definition, but throughout history one of nature's marvels has been made an important part of many authors' poetic focal points. Roses have traditionally been represented as symbols of love, eternity and life. Yet, despite this fact some authors use the rose to associate different connotations. Hilda Doolittle's, "Sea Rose" and Dorothy Parker's "One Perfect Rose" both concentrate on the rose to emphasize the issue of romanticism through which the rose is marked as a misinterpreted artificial symbol. Hilda Doolittle, known as H.D, was considered as one of the ground breaking founders of the imagist movement. Her style and use of the rose helped convey her ability to attach additional allegorical meaning and interpretation to her poetry. While Parker, an American critic and satirical poet, is remembered as much for her flashy verbal exchanges and malicious wit, her ability to disenchant stories and sketches to reveal her underlying pessimism. The contrasting nature of both poems shows two unique ways to convey the image of a rose. Dorothy Parker's ability to use tone, specific diction and subtle poetic devices transmits a much clearer image than H.D's overuse of adjectives and lack of conceptualization. The use of tone can be considered to be crucial when depicting concrete and vivid imagery. ...read more.


This three quatrain poem in its first stanza has a very euphonious tone: "A single flow'r he sent me, since we met. All tenderly his messenger he chose; Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet-- One perfect rose" Diction is a pertinent part of tone and the specific word choice of Parker indicates that her initial reaction that she wanted to evoke from her reader was a poem that came across with a soft, euphonious tone that adhered to love via the rose in its most traditional meaning. The tone continues through the second stanza with smooth vowel sounds, while the first stanza emphasized vowel sounds like "eee" the second stanza uses "ooo" sound to transition into a third stanza that is not completely euphonious but disrupted with specific diction like the word "limousine" and devices like enjambment in line nine and ten. "Why is it no one ever sent me yet On perfect limousine, do you suppose?" The use of assonance allows the poem to flow smoothly and until the third stanza where the tone changes as the Parker uses sarcasm and pessimism to mock the rose as a symbol of love. Parker's ability to use multiple dimensions to change tone makes her writing style much more effective than simple use of adjectives that H.D uses in the "Sea Rose." ...read more.


This is especially noticeable in the repeated motifs of "harsh rose, wet rose and spice-rose." H.D. symbolically evokes the dichotomy of a disparate femininity, for example 'wild as opposed to sweet, unlovely as opposed to lovely.' The "Sea Rose" discards conventional femininity to privilege explosive sexuality. To compare and contrast these poets who both use the symbol of the rose is to compare oranges to apples. While H.D uses adjective-fashioned diction to create an image of a rose beaten by the elements at the sea, Dorothy Parker narrated a story throughout her work. Both use imagery to develop justification for why a rose is not just a rose. But Dorothy Parker ability to use simple poetic devices, like end rhyme, enjambment and assonance makes her imagery much easier to visualize for readers. Parker's narrative style is conducive for a reader to easily see rose as a central focal point and visual an object with an insightful story or situation. In contrast, listing descriptive adjectives as H.D did in the "Sea Rose" does not necessarily portray rose as anything but a rose. While both use imagery to develop justification for why a rose is not just a rose, the complexity of human emotion can only be portrayed through narration not description. H.D's inability to tell a story caused the poem to lack meaning in terms of meaning with an image. On the other hand Parker's poem "One Perfect Rose" allows the reader to see that all roses are not traditionally symbolic of love, life and eternity. ...read more.

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