Imagery In On Not Shoplifting Louise Bogan's The Blue Estuaries

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In “On Not Shoplifting Louise Bogan’s The Blue Estuaries,” Julia Alvarez incorporates the use of imagery and selection of detail to convey the speaker’s discovery of a book of poems and the inspirational effect it has upon her. In this poem the speaker, who is in the poetry section of a college store, discovers “The Blue Estuaries” by Louise Bogan. The speaker develops an inner conflict of stealing the book or not and attempts to find her voice in literature.
In “On Not Shoplifting Louise Bogan’s The Blue Estuaries,” Alvarez uses imagery to convey the discovery of the book and its inspiration to the speaker. The speaker first discovers the book when searching a bookstore shelf: “Your book surprised me on the bookstore shelf-swans gliding on …show more content…

These lines reveal how the lack of reviews from men, “the big boys,” and the lack of a stereotypical author’s photograph bring curiosity to the speaker, causing them to be further attracted to the book. A further example of imagery is, “The swans posed on a placid lake, your name blurred underwater sinking to the bottom” (11-13). These lines use imagery to gradually introduce the book as an object of focus throughout the poem. The lines focus upon the cover of the book, explaining how the author’s name appears to be sinking to the bottom of the lake’s artwork and how there are swans on the lake that are floating upon the surface. These depictions pull the speaker closer due to her curiosity. The selection of detail in the following lines, “Page after page, your poems were stirring my …show more content…

The Blue Estuaries pushed the speaker to write her own poetry after she received creative development from her reading. The imagery within the lines “I leaned closer to the print until I could almost feel the blue waters drawn into the tip of my pen” (27-30) reveal the inspiration of the book by showing how the speaker begins writing as an outcome of the artwork. In unison with lines 27-30, the speaker explains why that inspiration occurred in lines 31-36 through Alvarez’s uses of selection of detail, “I bore down on the page, the lake flowed out again… I lost my doubts, my girl’s voice, my coming late into this foreign alphabet.” Due to finding this set of poetry, the speaker is able to discover her “voice” through the writing that came on as a result of her reading. The selection of detail showing the speaker’s contemplation of stealing the poems in lines 38-44, “I wanted to own this moment… I had no money, no one was looking… I was asking them what to do,” reveals that the speaker is so motivated by the inspiration in The Blue Estuaries that she wants to

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