An Analysis of Storm Warning by Adrienne Rich

In the poem Storm Warnings, by Adrienne Rich, there are created both literal and metaphorical meanings through the use of concrete details and its overall organization, which correlate to the title. The contrast presented is that of a physical storm, portrayed in the disability to avoid weathers onset, and that of a metaphorical storm, which represents an emotional struggle.

The speaker begins by showing the reader the precursors which will be leading to the storms outbreak, and the instruments with which are its predictors; the clocks and weatherglasses, or barometers. She compares their literal meaning with that of her own human instinct which can feel the storms presence coming as well; And knowing better than the instrument… (2). Thus follows is the idea that these instruments can only serve as a prediction, ultimately unable to do anything to deter these elements, or forces of nature. Rich expresses in this the weakness of mans plight against nature and its inevitable outcome; that we can truly do nothing to stop the storm from approaching, and must take refuge from it by attempting to block it out with our meager defenses. In result, the windows of glass, and closed shutters and doors are ineffectual, with the insistent whine (24) of weather emerging from even an unsealed keyhole.

The title Storm Warnings of the poem only extends the literal and physical, as well as metaphorical meanings of the poem centered around human emotions. Our human intuition and emotions warn us of potential problems we may face in the near future, just as the instruments can serve well as predictors of an upcoming storm. But, like the

inability to avoid the physical storm and forces of nature, man cannot evade pain and suffering brought on by the emotional storm, and too must endure its assailment. Thus, much how man is victimized by nature, he too must deal with his emotional strifes.

The poet recognizes the storms literal onset early on in the first stanza of the poem; What winds are walking overhead, but it isnt until the conclusion that the full metaphorical ramifications of the poem emerge to unite its meaning and connection to the title. The troubled regions (28) described here are not of solely places on the earth where the elements take a particular toll on human habitation, but upon the areas of the poets heart that are plagued with her own painful emotions. She has learned that both natures storms and her own emotional ones cant be avoided, only predicted and subdued, and ultimately must be excepted. It is realized by the reader that, in the end, running away doesnt solve problems, and the only true way to deal with them is to confront them and not try to hide away or combat these storms in our lives.

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