How Does Mary Oliver Use Imagery In Crossing The Swamp

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Mary Oliver’s poem “Crossing the Swamp” shows three different stages in the speaker's life, and uses personification, imagery and metaphor to show how their relationship with the swamp changed overtime. The swamp is personified, and imagery is used to show how frightening the swamp appears before transitioning to the struggle through the swamp and ending with the speaker feeling a sense of renewal after making it so far into the swamp. Finally, metaphor is used to compare the speaker, who has experienced many difficulties to an old tree who has finally begun to grow. Mary Oliver uses the literary element of personification to illustrate the speaker and the swamp’s relationship. She portrays the swamp as alive in lines 4-8 “ the nugget of dense sap, branching/ vines, the dark burred/ faintly belching/ bogs.” These lines show the fear the narrator has of the swamp with the words, dense, dark and belching. Then later in the poem, the speaker states in lines 28-31 with a joyful tone “a poor/ dry stick given/ one more chance by the whims/ of swamp water,” again personifying the swamp, but with this great change in tone reflecting how the relationship of the swamp and the speaker has changed. She also uses imagery to show how the speaker views the…show more content…
The speaker's relationship with the swamp changes as the poem progresses. At first, the speaker is a stranger to the swamp and fears it as one might fear a dark dressed person in an alley at night. Then, since there is no one else around, the speaker decides to confront the stranger/ swamp, facing their fear they realize they did not need to be afraid in the first place. They now understand the swamp better and know how to navigate it. Now at the end of the poem the narrator is relaxed and feels at home in the swamp as people feel staying with old
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