How Does Billy Collins Use Figurative Language In Driving With Animals

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Often times, when a person experiences something unusual, that experience stays with them forever. The poem “Driving with Animals” by Billy Collins is about the lasting impression that an experience with deer can create. The imagery, sound devices, and figurative language that Collins uses in the poem draw the reader into the poem and makes them feel as if they are the driver in the car. The element of imagery is important in drawing the reader into the poem. The words “reflective eyes of deer” cause the reader to anticipate dots of light appearing out of nowhere in the dark night (2). This is a stressful anticipation of light which causes the reader to become anxious themselves. Unlike the deer’s reflective eyes, the driver’s eyes are like steel, intently “drilling”, or focused, upon the unknown that is hidden by the blanket of darkness (12). The reader can feel the intense penetration of the …show more content…

“Deer peering from the fringe of trees” is one personification that Collins uses to put the driver and the deer on an equal emotional playing field (14).The reader feels like there are two people feeling the same way. Collins gives his driving situation the qualities of an arithmetic problem, stating that he has control of the “instruments of measuring motion, pressure, heat, the arcana of the engine” which are his known numbers, while his unknown variable is the deer lurking on the fringe of the woods (9-10). This personification creates a need for an analytical thought process of the unknown variable, or the unknown deer. The exaggeration of the motion of the deer, “locked in death-leaps in the sparkle of headlights” creates a slightly humorous effect of the severity of the deer in the headlights (24). The humorous effect helps the reader understand that the deer in headlights is a serious and dangerous incident, but does so in a way that keeps the reader at

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