Analysis Of Edna St. Vincent Millay's Renascence

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The beginning of the 20th century brought about great societal, cultural and economic change in the United States. Americans had developed a new, refreshed look on the world. Political activists nationwide were pushing a progressive agenda, supporting issues such as prohibition, women’s suffrage and anti-trust laws. These new ideas and perspectives represented a “rebirth” of the American people. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Renascence”, characterizes this rebirth, in which the subject dies, but is revived into the world with a new perspective on life. Born in 1892, Millay witnessed firsthand the transition from the primitive lifestyle of the 1800s to the forward-thinking, modern ways of the 20th century. She crafted “Renascence” in 1912…show more content…
Millay acknowledges this awakening in her poem, as she gradually becomes aware of the sin and darkness that is present on Earth. Lines 62-65 encompass the individualistic mindset of Americans, “And all the while for every grief, Each suffering, I craved relief With individual desire”. But now, people began to have a sense of emotion and sympathy for others. When discussing a starving man in Capri, the poet says “I felt his gaze, I heard his moan, And knew his hunger as my own.” People were now conscientious of others, and had a greater perception and appreciation for other people. While this same process of enlightenment happened to America as a whole, Millay was a person who went through this transformation as well. Not only did she witness the general public becoming more aware of social, cultural, and economic issues, but she was one of those people that made up the general public. Millay was just 19 years old when she wrote “Renascence”, as she was also going through a “renaissance” that all teenagers endure. She had a new, complex view of the world that happened to coincide with a much larger renaissance happening in the rest of the
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