Analysis Of The Journey By Mary Oliver

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Mary Oliver’s lyric poem, “The Journey”, is an engaging and uplifting depiction of the slow yet crucial and significant path to individuality. Written in succinct free-verse and strewn with images illustrating the obstacles and hardships that fill one’s life, along with images portraying the eventual surmount of these afflictions, “The Journey” provides readers with a sense of hope that one day they will find their voice, their identity. Through the use of compelling visual and metaphorical imagery, contradicting tones, repetition, and simple diction, Oliver leads the reader to conclude that the journey to individuality is both demanding and rewarding. Oliver begins the poem by immediately highlighting the eventual acknowledgement of the persona’s need to strive for individuality as well as the depth of the ongoing pressures and challenges that come with doing so, developing a dismal yet almost optimistic tone. In order to focus on the enduringly long time that it took before the persona accumulated the power to know “what you had to do,” Oliver uses the voice of the persona. Through the persona, she emphasizes the necessary determination one needs to find their identity even “though the voices around you/kept shouting/ their bad advice—,” using “the voices” to represent the doubt and pressure that are constantly interfering with the thoughts and endeavors of the persona. Oliver continues to highlight the perception of the persona in the next four lines, describing doubt’s
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