To Autumn Poem Analysis

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3.4 Stylistic devices

If one compares the use of stylistic devices in “To Autumn” to that of “The name – of it – is ‘Autumn’”, it becomes very clear that Keats, to illustrate the meaning of his ode, stuffs it to the brim with stylistic devices - with alliterations, intricate sound patterns, shifts in perspective, markers of temporal progress, and similar things. Dickinson, on the other hand, resists using beautiful imagery, making her point through exactly that refusal, in that she aggressively reminds the reader of the corporeality and bloodiness that death brings with it, especially in the face of war, with her metaphors of blood and body parts. Furthermore, she breaks open the ballad form in a systematic way to illustrate death’s chaotic and hasty nature. In Dickinson’s poem, sound patterns do play an important role as well. Words with ‘eɪ’ sounds, such as “name” (l. 1), “Vein” (l. 4), or “Rain” (l. 8) and words with ‘ɪ’ sounds, like “Hill” (l. 3), “winds” (l. 7), or “sprinkles” (l. 9) alternate in the poem at short intervals. Words with harsh ‘s’ sounds are strewn in between in the second stanza (“Stain”, l. 6; “Basin”, l. 7, “Scarlet”, l. 8 …). These sound patterns give the poem a quick, almost restless pace, which supports the chopped, chaotic feeling of the poem. They also compliment to a certain extend the forced breaks caused by the dashes, in that the rapid succession of different sounds mimics the jerky motion of the chunks of syntax. The Autumn metaphor is
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