Key Elements to Poetry Analysis
A poem can unlock the door to the many priceless memories that can only be relived in the mind. The mood of a poem can create a link between a person and a memory. The mood can take a person back to the people they miss and the great times they had. The poet Jose De La Cruz uses many poetic devices such as figurative language, imagery, and sound devices to help bring back the faces and sounds that remind us of those great moments we’ve had.
First of all the poem “The Man I See” uses imagery to enhance the mood and recapture the places and people that are lost in our minds. Sight images create detailed pictures in the mind. For example, lines 9 and 10 “the determination boiling out of my pores and covering my skin creating an aura of pride” can be pictured in detail. The determination boiling out of the pores and the aura of pride creates a positive mood. The determination and pride is a characteristic value in someone. Lines 13 and 14 “ …The iron heart of a man beating pumping fuel through the many tortuous tunnels of this body…” are other examples of sight images. This quote brings an image to the reader of an iron heart pumping fuel through veins. This is a value of a person with courage and strength. A certain smell or odor can remind us of someone special. Line 7 “I smell cologne as fresh as the morning breeze…” makes the reader think of an orange sunrise and cool morning weather. The cologne reminds the reader of a specific odor worn by someone they miss.
Secondly besides imagery, figurative language is also used to enhance the mood and remind us of people, places, or things we miss. A simile compares two objects using like or as. An example of this is line 7 “ I smell cologne as fresh as the morning breeze racing through my nose”. The cologne is being compared to a fresh morning. The mood that is created is relaxed and cool just like the morning. A metaphor also compares two objects except that it does not use like or as. Line 2 “ I see the light blue ocean colored eyes” compares the ocean with someone’s eyes. An ocean is blue, always active, and full of life. The reader can infer that the poet is describing the features and personality of a person. Line 8 “I feel the confidence and pride rush through my veins” creates an energetic mood. Confidence and pride feeds the body while they rush through the veins. The quote brings along a positive flow of energy. Confidence and pride are dominant traits of a person. Confidence and pride are the tools used to get through life. The confidence and pride remind the reader of someone that would bring a positive mood wherever they went. The phrase on line 13 “iron heart” compares iron to a heart. Iron is adamant and important therefore an iron heart is strong, important and unbreakable. This metaphor reminds the reader of a person that worked hard and was strong. The phrase on line 14 “pumping fuel through the many tortuous tunnels…” is a metaphor that compares fuel with blood and tortuous tunnels with veins. The fuel is used to transport energy the same way blood is. The fuel is pumped through the tortuous tunnels that represent veins. This might remind the reader of a time when they had to deal with stress. The tortuous tunnels also represent life. Life can be very confusing and deceiving. Verb personification is giving non-human things human actions. The phrase on line 7 “…morning breeze racing through my nose” is one example of verb personification. The morning breeze describes someone that was fresh, young, and full of energy. The breeze racing through the nose reminds the reader of a fresh person filled with energy. It can describe someone who would jog in the morning along the beach. The phrase on line 8 “…confidence and pride rush through…” gives the two words human traits. The words confidence and pride represent someone strong. The poet can be describing someone strong that would rush through anything to get whatever they wanted. Adjective personification is using human descriptions to describe something non-human. “I feel the excited fingertips massaging my diligent shoulders” brings back memories of a friend or father-like figure that would make the pain go away or that would say congratulates when goals were achieved. The reader remembers the hard times and achievements that were meted with support.
Finally, besides imagery and figurative language, sound devices also enhance the mood and remind us of places, people, and things we miss. Alliteration is the repetition of similar or identical sounds at the beginning of words or in accented syllables. Alliteration is used to create melody, establish mood, call attention to certain words, and point up similarities and contrasts. Alliteration can be smooth or bumpy. The smoothness or the roughness can set the mood. An example of a smooth alliteration is on line 12 “I hear the smooth soothing sounds of silence slithering softly through my ears”. The sentence is smooth and sets a soothing and relaxing mood. The line makes the reader think of a quite place such as a house or park. A special place where only silence is present. It can also represent a romantic spot. Assonance is the repetition of similar or identical sounds followed by different consonant sounds in stressed words or syllables. An example of assonance is line 3 “I hear the whistling tune that toots and heal wounds”. Tune, toots, and wounds repeats the “oo” sound three times. The whistling tune that heals wounds symbolizes a certain tune that would make everything feel better. The whistling tune would bring a feeling of assurance when heard. Consonance is the repetition of similar or identical consonant sounds preceded by different vowel sounds. This can also be smooth or bumpy. An example of consonance is line 5 “I think of such words as resilient, great, stalwart, munificent, erudite, and preeminent.”
The repetition of the “t” sound at the end of each word is an example of consonance. The poet uses the words in line 5 to describe a person. The words are qualities of that person. Cacophony is a succession of harsh, jolting sounds. An example of this is line 9 “the determination boiling out of my pores and covering my skin creating….” The words, determination, boiling, pores, covering, skin, and creating are harsh words. The words follow one another creating a rough mood. Another example of cacophony is on line13 and 14 “…iron heart of a man beating pumping fuel through the many tortuous tunnels….” the rough words are beating, pumping, tortuous, and tunnels. Euphony can also set the mood. Euphony is a succession of smooth, harmonious sounds heightening the effect of a poem. Line 12 “…smooth soothing sounds of silence slithering softly…” has a harmonious sound that creates a soothing mood. This line is as easy to read as driving through a smooth road or lane. The phrase on line7 “ …fresh as the morning breeze…” also creates a soothing mood.
In conclusion the reader can see how effectively Jose De La Cruz uses the mood. Figurative language, imagery, and sound devices create the mood so successfully that it creates a link between the reader and the many priceless memories which bring back the faces and sounds that remind the reader of the great moments and people they’ve meet.
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