Crossing The Swamp Summary

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“Crossing the Swamp” depicts the speaker’s struggle to stay afloat while crossing a swamp. In the poem, the poet uses imagery, asyndeton, and metaphor to describe the relationship between the speaker and the swamp as a struggle to live. The comparison of life to the swamp reveals that success will come after persistence through scholarships because life will offer chances even after failure.
In the beginning, the speaker introduces the description of the swamp and the current situation that the speaker is in. The speaker establishes the setting with a parallelism “the endless wet thick cosmos, the center of everything,” creating a dreamlike image of the world. The center of the world “cosmos” is an orderly, harmonious system that is endless,
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The metaphor, comparing the speaker to “a poor dry stick,” conveys that the speaker is insignificant in the swamp environment. By comparing himself to the stick, the speaker was “given one more chance by the whims,” which suggests that the speaker is fortunate. The metaphor introduces the idea that the swamp represents life, and the speaker, like a stick, struggles to stay alive through the hardships. After all of the struggle for the speaker to stay above the swamp, the speaker will have a chance to “take root, sprout, branch out, bud” after all these years. The asyndeton introduces the excitement to succeed through the lack of conjunction that creates rhythm. By creating an excited mood, the speaker displays the satisfaction of succeeding after struggling for a long time to just survive. Because tree symbolizes life, the stick being able to bud in the swamp suggests that the speaker is able to start life after struggling to live. The success is introduced through the personification “make of its life a breathing palace of leaves.” By describing the palace of leaves as breathing, the personification brings life to the palace, suggesting liveliness that contrasts the initial struggle. The palace indicates wealth and royalty, which demonstrates that the speaker’s constant struggle is worth the success that he receives now. The speaker struggling swamp is like a person struggling in life, working towards an opportunity to become
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