reading response

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Instructions: (1) Read Henry Abbey’s “Faith’s Vista” and Robert Frost’s “The Star-Splitter.” (2) While you read, identify textual examples from either poem that illustrate each of the five literary terms in the list below. (3) Define each literary term and indicate how one textual example from these poems represents each term. (4) Next, write approximately 50 words of analysis (5 responses = 250 words total) explaining the effect(s) of each literary device (i.e., How is it operating in the poem? What meaning does it help produce? How does it fit within the overarching context or form or theme of the whole poem?). For more help, I’ve provided an example below from Hart Crane’s The Bridge.

Literary Terms:
1) Metaphor

2) Alliteration

3) Personification

4) Allusion

5) Rhyme


Term: Alliteration

Definition: The repetition of the same sounds – usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables – in any sequence of neighboring words (Baldick 8).

Textual Example: “Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge, / prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry” (Crane, lines 31-32).

Analysis: This moment of alliteration in the 8th stanza is considered consonance, since Crane repeats the “P” sound 4 times; it creates a certain harshness when read aloud, since these sounds in quick succession force air from the lips and create a rhythmic “smacking” sound. The roughness of the stacked “P” sounds contradicts the positive religious imagery of the words “prophet” and “prayer.” This suggests that the prayer of the pariah might go unanswered – even if it can be heard.

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