Edna St. Vincent Millay: Poem Analysis

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Within the poem the speaker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, dramatizes that love is only a feeling and does not last forever, particularly relating to the her experiences and conflicts in the past. The figurative language in the poem is comparing love to a seed, bud then flower. This shows life and growth; however, Millay continues to describe the flower to tilt in the autumn and fall in the winter. Millay is conveying the idea that all love will eventually end. Contrary to her belief, the argument of the poem is Millay’s hope, like everyone else’s, that the next relationship will have greater significance, and last forever.
The poem is a Shakespearean sonnet, therefore each quatrain has a significant illustration. Millay begins by comparing love to the growth of a flower and how it is affected by the seasons. She then continues to explain where her beliefs originate from using the seasons as a metaphor for time.
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Millay begins by describing herself as “season-wise”, implying she is aware that love is just a cycle, using the seasons to represent time. Spring and summer representing the beginning showing signs of life and growth, while autumn and winter show the end of the cycle. Millay has learned love is not a lasting feeling and will end similar to how winter will always come. Millay also describes herself as “country-bred”. She is portraying herself as a country girl, someone who is jaded and realistic. Therefore, she knows better than to, “tilt at autumn or defy the frost”. Millay is aware love will die, so she does not attempt to preserve it. Instead, she relates to her fathers who have also suffered a similar lost and they say, “What’s out tonight is lost”. The father is representative of everyone before her who have had a failing relationship, and they all understand relationships will die as time passes which is shown when flowers are ruined when left out in the cold and
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