An Analysis of the Use of Figurative Language in the Poem Meditation 22

A poem is an artistic piece of work that aims at ensuring clear message is communicated through figurative language in a way that the intended information and message is hidden in a way (Lacroix 300).

In the poem “Meditation 22 (First Series)”, a concise use of figurative language is extensively displayed. Starting from the simplest figure of speech to more complex figures, these are used to convey communication to the reader in sort of hidden information. Aspects of rhymes are used widely in the piece of art to create rhythm and beat in the poem. Smooth flow of words between lines creates a beat that determines the perfect smooth scheming of any work. End rhymes are evident in interlines, varying from one line to the next, separated by a single line of different rhyme scheme. Examples are between glorified and pride in lines seven and nine respectively, eye and sky in lines eight and ten respectively. These forms of rhyme schemes employed maintain the tone of the poem that is under analysis, giving a view of the exact environment and speed of actions.

Alliteration in a poem is a figure of speech employed where the first vowel sound is repeated in a line. This creates a scenario of correct intonation, giving the poem the mood it deserves in the real environment. Despite regulating speed and determining the rhythm of the poem, alliteration serves to improve the quality of the poem through setting of a particular line direction. Cases of alliteration used within the poem are in line eighteen for instance, the words I, Thy and Cry portray extensive use of alliteration.

Consonance utilizes employment of repetition of the first consonant sound within the same line (Lacroix 301). Consonance serves the same purpose as alliteration, only that the pattern could be unique to create different rhythmic conditions and beats. This figure is typically

used in line 22 when the words Tongue and Tattle are use to describe a consonant sound t.

assonance more or less produces the same effect as alliteration and consonance, with the only difference being produced by the kind of repetition of sounds used.

Rhetorical questions are used in poems to describe aspects of natural occurrences that require no answers. These are mysterious events that would better remain unclear and unsettled rather than be answered and provide for inaccuracy and shortcut solutions that would mislead. Moreover, rhetoric questions allow room for more logical thinking and redirects towards critical reasoning in attempts to answer to the different claims and difficulties. In line 32 of the poem, the use of rhetoric question “fore which all men and Angels appear?”, proves the inaccurate state of the writer, and yearning to find out more about the Judgment Seat. Thus, rhetoric questions lead to more research, and a longing of some sort to meet the criteria of eventually finding out a solution to the problem that seems challenging at the moment.

Allusion refers to use of objects and imagery to represent reality in the current world. This particular figure of speech is extensively used by poets to paint specific objects and ideas using tangible objects instead of using the exact materials that are being reviewed. Alluding helps avoid harsh language, especially when talking of criticism. Mostly, it is applied to officials or leaders of a nation for instance, to rebuke their actions and deeds. On the other hand, allusion is a powerful tool to use when it comes to compliments and praises. Similarly, it can be used to avoid subjective address, and instead point to a more understandable object. The poem in question has many incidences of allusion. Lines 13 and 14 indicate usage of allusion. A bird is alluded to another object, which is definitely a human being that is being addressed as one who shall stand and sing praise. A similar address is made about the little Bee, which is to “present her Thankful Hum”. Technically, the two creatures in lines 13 and 14 respectively have no

relationship with praises, but rather they allude to human beings who are to stand before

judgment in the end to praise and sign to the LORD.

Personification use is implemented widely in many aspects of language communication. This figure of speech is extensively used in many scenarios to talk of events and bring them in a lively mood, describing them with utmost humor (Leech 45). Personification is the use of physical non-living objects to represent living beings, by giving them life qualities such as ability to talk, walk, reproduce, and perform other responsibilities. Arguments are normally presented in form of personified objects, with the real figures hidden beneath these objects. Besides performing the function of hiding characters, personification ensures harsh language is evaded. The poet describes the soul as having the ability to stand niggardly, and a though being able to glorify it, in lines 3 and 4.

Hyperbole is overrating of an event, statement or situation. In a way, it stands for exaggeration of the particular situation. Most descriptions of items utilize hyperbole in their speech. This is a figurative language that involves a lot of skill; else the entire intentioned motive would be ruined. Advertisements use such exaggerations in advertising products, thereby attracting more customers. The same applies to poetry, where exaggeration is used to vividly give a clear image of a particular object, and the characteristics that it would probably have. Vivid description s a figure is therefore, introduced along with hyperbole. A concise example within the given poem is line 28 which talks of “too foul a Path is for Thy Feet to Take” and this relates the path the Majesty is to take, that must be clear and faultless. This is a befitting example of a hyperbole, where extreme words are used to describe the way the Majesty is glorified. In a glimpse, one can see the magnitude to which sovereignty is upheld for the character in the poem.

Onomatopoeia comes in handy when describing sounds produced by objects or living

creatures constructed in a poem environment. These bring up the lively nature of the poem, creating a real environment to the reader. Vibrant nature is thus achieved, and desire to go deeper is more attained. The poem describes a bee humming in line 14. Normally, the sound produced by a bee is humming, and the humming part describes onomatopoeia. This brings aspects of life into the poem, making it more tangible with more effect of conviction.

Intonation describes tonal variation which determines the specific mood of the poem. This particular aspect of speech entails the rise and falling of tone, bringing about different moods and environments to the poem. Theme characterization is also affected by this periodic rise and fall of tone, determining the kind of rhythm obtained. This example is obtained virtually in all the lines, for instance line 16. In this line, mixed settings of statements are used, first a flat tone, then a raising intonation to describe the eyes. This achieves different rhythmic effects.

Figurative language is a spice to poetry. It is an additive to readers, and supplementary to all poets’ language. Poetry works are more appreciated when they are spiced with figurative language to hide content and intentions. Moreover, figurative language avoids harsh tones, and speaks gently to the reader, appealing to the characters as well.

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