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Zaid Shammas<br />English 12 Augustine<br />November 15, 2010<br />Death in the Family <br />Julie Hill Alger<br />They ca...
Poem 3
Poem 3
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Poem 3

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Poem 3

  1. 1. Zaid Shammas<br />English 12 Augustine<br />November 15, 2010<br />Death in the Family <br />Julie Hill Alger<br />They call it stroke.Two we loved were stunnedby that same blow of cudgelor axe to the brow.Lost on the earththey left our circlebroken.One spent five monthsfalling from our graspmute, her grace, wit,beauty erased.Her green eyes gazed at usas if asking, as if aware,as if hers. One nightshe slipped away;machinery of mercybrought her back to die more slowly. At long lastshe escaped.Our collie dogfared better. A lesser creature, shehad to spend only one daydrifting and reeling,her brown eyes beseeching. Then shewas tenderly lifted,laid on a table,praised, petted and set free.<br />Structure<br />This poem incorporates three stanzas to convey the authors theme across to the reader. The poem is written in free-verse, since there is no rhyme scheme evident and any resemblance between the three stanzas. The first stanza’s structure uses enjambment between the majorities of the seven lines, such as in between ‘they left our circle’ and ‘broken’. The second stanza uses the same type of structure; extensive integration of enjambment as well as a few sentence fragments. The third stanza’s lines appear much shorter in length, but this is compensated by the increase in the number of lines compared to the previous two stanzas.<br />Tone<br /> The tone of the poem is constant throughout. The content of the poem deals with two deaths in the author’s family. Consequently, the author’s feelings seem to convey a solemn tone. This is personified by tone words and phrases such as ‘she slipped away’. ‘lost on our earth’ and ‘beauty erased.’ There is no tone shift in this poem, since it starts out with an introduction, and the explanation of two deaths, which comprise the three paragraphs. <br />Theme<br />Death and family are two subjects of the theme present in this poem. The second stanza describes the death of a human family member, and the third stanza describes the death of the collie family dog. Due to the death’s, sadness falls upon the family. The second and third stanzas serve to complement each other, and also to emphasize the dog’s death as much as the family members’. Although the dog is called a ‘lesser creature,’ the author compares both the dog’s and the person’s death equally, relating them by saying they suffered the ‘same blow of cudgel.’ Therefore, one theme that applies to this situation would be that in life, dogs, to as much as extent as people, have a great impact on their owners when they pass away because they become part of and are family.<br />Imagery<br />The first stanza uses sight imagery, ‘axe to the brow’ and ‘blow of a cudgel,’ to show the impact of a death. These two lines emphasize how much a death may mean to a family. In the second stanza, ‘her green eyes gazed at [the family],’ and purposefully makes the reader feel as though he/she was there, watching the dying family member. The third stanza also brings in the dog’s ‘brown’ eyes, to serve the same purpose as the green eyes.<br />Other Literary Devices<br />Not many other literary devices are present in this poem. Hints of the literary device that influences structure, enjambment, are present to make the poem smoother, and to emphasize a few points of interest in the poem, such as words like ‘beseeching,’ and ‘drifting and reeling,’ in the third stanza. Personification is also present, which can be seen when the ‘machinery of mercy’ brings back the person the author cares about.<br />Personal Reflection<br />I lost both my grandfather and grandmother from my dad’s side of the family at a young age. They meant a lot to me, but when they departed, they also broke from the ‘circle’ of my family. It was a sad time, but I have learnt to deal with this fact, and I’ve learnt that life goes on no matter what happens. I also own fish, similar to the dog in this poem, but they are small fish and do not mean as much to me as a dog would, so in the man’s best friend aspect of this poem, I can relate in a small way, but ultimately cannot feel how the author feels.<br />

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