The Island Of Souls Poem Analysis

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The Island of Souls
Composer, Gordon Sumner, in his ballad, “The Island of Souls,” analyzes the life of Billy, the son of a ship riveter who dreams of a better and brighter future. Sumner’s purpose is to depict an unsatisfied young man who yearns for life beyond being a simple riveter. Sumner utilizes imagery, somber diction, and a simile. He describes a bitter tone to arouse similar feelings and experiences in his audience. The songwriter begins his poem by using imagery to compare Billy’s upbringing and growing feeling of longing for something more. Sumner’s verse, “Trapped in the cage of the skeleton ship,” further exemplifies Billy’s feeling of being trapped and his wish to be free (20). His purpose here is to illustrate Billy’s feelings
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Sumner emphasizes this point when he wrote, “And six days a week he would watch his poor father a working man live like a slave” (5-6). These impactful lines of the ballad demonstrate that the father is forced to work in demeaning conditions for little pay. It leaves Billy with an everlasting image of the man he respects, his only family mentioned being treated the same as a slave. Ultimately this left a substantial impact on Billy which pushed him further away from the path he was chosen to follow: the life of a riveter. The purpose here is to provide the audience with an idea of the life Billy’s father lives, and it explains why Billy wants a life as more than a riveter. It affects the listener by appealing towards those who have had a rough past where a parent or parents worked long hard hours at work. The use of this simile not only compares Billy’s father to a slave but is used to evoke feelings of compassion from the audience members who have lived through a rough past comparable to Billy’s
The Rhetorical Devices used in “The Island of Souls” leave the audience feeling empathy towards the boy Billy who will always want a life as more than a riveter. Margaret Mitchell said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who come

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