Theodore Roethke Personification

550 Words3 Pages
The definition of dolor is defined as mental suffering, or grief. Dolor being the title of the poem, creates a sense of negativity and dreadfulness. A sense of sadness, grief,and pain overwhelms the reader. In the poem "Dolor," Theodore Roethke is able to capture the sorrow and repetitiveness of office life by speaking about boring and everyday objects, and making them seem important, powerful, and even lethal. In the first eight lines of the poem, Roethke uses personification to infer the weight of the office supplies to be overwhelming, and suffocating. "The sadness of pencils," the "misery of manila," the "dolor of pad and paper-weight," (Roethke lines 1-3) these are all examples of personification in which Roethke uses to emphazise…show more content…
There is nothing that the desk worker can do, but to try and ignore the mundane, sadness of working in an office. The people are no longer in control, the things are, "And even the things themselves are filled with dolor" (Katona). The author is able to make a white collar job, which is often considered harmless, to be as treacherous and daunting as physical labor. Katona compares Roethke's exaggeration to the work of a miner. She says that "The office workers are surprisingly in no less peril in their neat, clean offices than miners are in their dirty back-breaking tunnels" (Katona). As a writer, Roethke is able to make simple objects, mean "something greater than themselves" (Katona). His use of methods and poetic strategies enhance his opinion of complete and udder despair. As the poem goes on, the mood of the poem only deepens with sorrow and pain. In the last five lines of the poem, a metaphor is used to enhance the despair of the poem more deeply. He says "And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions, Finer than flour, alive, more dangerous than silica" (Roethke lines 10-11). The work in the office, seems to be more harmful for the soul, than for the physical
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