Analysis Of Planting A Sequoia By Dana Gioia

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Dana Gioia’s poem, “Planting a Sequoia” is grievous yet beautiful, sombre story of a man planting a sequoia tree in the commemoration of his perished son. Sequoia trees have always been a symbol of wellness and safety due to their natural ability to withstand decay, the sturdy tree shows its significance to the speaker throughout the poem as a way to encapsulate and continue the short life of his infant. Gioia utilizes the elements of imagery and diction to portray an elegiac tone for the tragic death, yet also a sense of hope for the future of the tree. The poet also uses the theme of life through the unification of man and nature to show the speaker 's emotional state and eventual hopes for the newly planted tree. Lastly, the tree itself becomes a symbol for the deceased son as planting the Sequoia is a way to cope with the loss, showing the juxtaposition between life and death.

The agony the writer is feeling about his son 's death, as well as the hint of optimism through planting the tree is powerfully depicted through the devices of diction and imagery throughout the poem. In the first stanza the speaker describes the setting when planting the Sequoia; “Rain blacked the horizon, but cold winds kept it over the Pacific, / And the sky above us stayed the dull gray.” The speaker uses a lexicon of words such as “blackened”, “cold” and “dull gray” which all introduce a harsh and sorrowful tone to the poem. Pathetic fallacy is also used through the imagery of nature; the
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