Root Cellar Theodore Roethke Analysis

908 Words4 Pages
In the poem “Root Cellar”, the writer, Theodore Roethke, depicts the resilience of life and its tendency to be found in even the gloomiest of places. In the beginning, he describes the environment of a root cellar, which is a lifeless, unpleasant, and desperate place. Then, he talks about how the plants, which are a symbol of life, strongly survived in the disgusting root cellar. The reason why he contrasts the plants and the inhospitable environment is because he wants to celebrate the determination of life forms and encourage people never give up in living. In the first stanza, the poet describes how terrible the environment of a root cellar is, which successfully helps readers to create the imagination of the gloomy cellar. The poet begins with stating that “nothing would sleep in that cellar”, so first we are…show more content…
He refers the smell of the cellar as “a congress of stinks”, which directly makes the readers feel unpleasant to the situation of the cellar. “Congress” underlines that the cellar is chaotic and disorganized. Moreover, the poet brings the smells to the readers by specifically choosing words to intensify the meaning, such as “ripe”, “pulpy”, “rank” and “rich”. These adjectives make the readers feel more disgusted about the roots. Also, he compares the roots as “old bait”, which shows that the roots become fragmental in addition to their displeasing smell. By incorporating the description of this foul smell, the readers can have a more general and detailed impression of the environment by adding a new sensation to this poem. Furthermore, the poet shows the disgusting environment of the cellar by describing the decomposed parts of the plants. For example, “pulpy stems” and “leaf-mold” of the plants pile up on the floor. His description successfully gives the readers an imagination that the environment for the plants is hopeless, deadly and tragic, which is too hard for them to
Open Document