Figurative Language In Theodore Roethke's Root Cellar

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Have you ever been lonely? Tired? Depressed? Have you ever had a time in your life when you wanted to give up or even die? But regardless you refused to give up and kept fighting through your pain? This is exactly what Theodore Roethke is referring to in his poem “Root Cellar.” Roethke uses figurative language such as personification, diction and imagery to convey a theme of determination and powering through in his poem.”
One of the ways the theme of determination is underscored is through the use of imagery. Imagery is evident throughout the poem, when Roethke describes the conditions the plants are fighting through. “Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch, Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark.” This shows how the environment is toxic and cold but the plants refuse to give up. With this one can visualize the plants fighting for survival and pushing out of the darkness. The technique of imagery allows Roethke to assist the reader in seeing the theme of determination. …show more content…

“Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.” With this you can see how the author is comparing the dirt fighting to live with breathing. This creates a connection with humans and how we have to breath to survive. The dirt was barely living, but still it fought to breath a “small breath” Another example is “Nothing would sleep in that cellar.” The connection created with this is how humans need sleep to function and to regain energy. This shows that the plants are fighting so hard to not die and create new life that they would give up rest and things they need so they can continue fighting. Personification is used to emphasize a theme of powering

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