Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

Commentary on Sonnet ¨Atlantis¨

Category Poetry, Sonnet
Words 646 (2 pages)

“Around 350 BC, Plato wrote about a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean that went under the ocean waves in one day and one night”. “Atlantis – A Lost Sonnet” by Eavan Boland does not follow from head to toe the standards of a sonnet, being able to identify it by the length of 14 lines and its GG rhyme scheme at the end. This poem is able to move from a question about Atlantis to a memory of the author and finally to the overall meaning about memories. Boland is able to create a close and personal atmosphere throughout this sonnet through a first person narrator, the use of word choice and rhetorical questions.

It is the type of narrator in a poem that helps the reader identify itself with. In this case, “Atlantis” is written in first person, meaning that the reader relates to the character`s personal thoughts and feelings. At the beginning of the poem she emphasizes the word “I” in relation to her thoughts about the myth of the missing city, “How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder”(1). In this way making the reader enter and try to understand the authors view on this surreal event. While at the centre she changes the use of the word “I” to describe her feeling, “I miss our old city — … you and I meeting”(7-8).

Explaining a major change in the meaning of the poem since she is no longer talking about Atlantis but if not on her past love, someone she misses. Being able to compare them both since their overall meaning of lost and disappeared forever is the same. Moreover, Boland chooses to further on explain the meaning in her poem based on the simple word choice that compares both scenarios. Straightforward words like under, missed and drowned are used in this poem because of their double meaning:” one fine day gone under? (4) … Surely a great city must have been missed? (6) ... ave their sorrow a name and drowned it. ” (14). At the end we see how this words flow perfectly with both ideas. Given that Atlantis is recognized as a city that drowned and left no evidence, we say it is hidden underneath the ocean.

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This idea of disappearing is a perfect example that the author is able to connect to her personal emotions of someone she really misses and will never come back to her life which would actually make the reader think about how the author decided to use this city as a representation of her now gone lover. So why is a rhetorical question applied in this sonnet? It is primarily to chieve a stronger and direct statement with no need of answering the question. In this poem there are two questions at the start and middle part; “one fine day gone under? (4)... Surely a great city must have been missed? ” (6), both of this are talking about Atlantis. In a sort of way, the author is being sarcastic because neither she nor we will ever know the true answer since it is a legend with thousands of explanations but neither one is 100% accurate. At the end, this types of questions cause the reader to connect to her judgments in a stronger way since they would also want to know how a city may disappear right under our noses.

As a final point, the message of this powerful poem is understood in its last two most important lines, “to convey that what is gone is gone forever and never found it. And so, in the best traditions of … where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name and drowned it. ” (12-14). Boland?s simple rhyme, imagery, and use of personification create the final resolution of the author’s feelings and thoughts towards a past which cannot be recovered except with your memory.

Commentary on Sonnet ¨Atlantis¨ essay

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