How does Anne Stevenson use literary devices to explore the theme of life and creation in "The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument"?

Authors Avatar by maahirasiddiqui068gmailcom (student)

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument

By Anne Stevenson

How does the poet use literary devices to explore the theme of life and creation?

‘The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument’ by Anne Stevenson is a fascinating poem, in which the speaker describes the beautiful intricacies of the development of a baby and how we are incapable of such an extraordinary act. She explores the themes of life and creation through imagery, enjambment, and emotive language.

Firstly, the poet uses powerful imagery to emphasize the beautiful complexity of the creation of a baby. This is evident in the line, “Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent fingernails.” The imagery in this line is astounding. To begin, the technique in which she describes the eyelashes; something so miniature yet exact, is an excellent way of explaining to the reader how extraordinary the creation of a baby is. The use of the word ‘observe’ further advocates this as she is demanding the reader to look at this gorgeous and prominent feature of a baby. Secondly, describing the fingernails as ‘sharp crescents’ is another way the poet uses imagery to demonstrate the theme of creation, as the reader continues to picture the beauty of the baby. This brings about the emotion of admiration in the reader as they realize the complexity of the body and how beautiful the creation is.

Join now!

Moreover, Stevenson uses enjambment to explain how even the small things have a great significance in our bodies. She illustrates this in the line, “the shell-like complexity of the ear, with its firm involutions concentric in miniature to minute ossicles.” the fact that the poet speaks about the ‘ossicles’, which are the smallest bones in the body located in our ear, is just another fantastic way the speaker has explored creation and its flawlessness. Especially as these bones are commonly overlooked, yet so significant as they play an essential role in our hearing.  The use of enjambment here gives ...

This is a preview of the whole essay