A readers’ first guess at Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poem. “How I love thee” would be that it is a love poem. This assumption is correct as a love poem is a lyric, i. e. an expression of feelings, and thoughts by a speaker in a personal and subjective fashion. In this poem, literary devices and language strongly used to assist the reader is the correct comprehension of the theme of the work. In this poem the theme is love. This theme is approached with a question, “How do I love thee? ” This abrupt question is rhetorical.
Let me count the ways,” The author is not going to literally count the number of ways that she loved this person, but she is attempting to define love and her love for the other person. The next few lines are descriptive. The author attempts and seemingly effectively explains the love that she feels. From the authors words readers can see that this love is real, and not an infactuation. Throughout the poem Elizabeth uses examples to explain her love, she tries to symbolize her love with life happenings.
I love they with the passion put to use In my old griefs. ” At the conclusion of the poem Browning says “I shall love thee even better after death. ” From the tone of this line it sounds as though she thinks that some how she has failed in her demonstration of love and promises to exhibition of her emotion greater after their death. Two of the literary devices used in this poem are point of view, and description. In this poem the point of view used is first person. This allows the reader to hear and feel the passion poem as directly and originally intended by the author.
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Through out the entire poem Browning is directly is directly telling her inner most feeling for another. It is not an observer telling how they think that she individual feels. The effective use of this literary device better helps reader’s relation to and interpretation of the poem. Another literary device used is description. This device is strongly used in the poem from line two onwards. Though the lady is seemingly unsuccessful in describing the love, description is still a major factor. ” I love thee freely. As men strive for right.
This description reveals that she loves him as strong as a person would struggle or push for his or her beliefs. In essense she is a martyr of her love for him. Language is another important element in the poem. Elizabeth’s skill with punctuation is this is evident though out her work. She has effectively used punctuation through out her poem to greatly aid the reader in their comprehending, “I love thee to the depth and breath and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being an ideal grace.
The pause after reach is pertinent to the true meaning of the quote, a use of a period at that same spot would change the meaning of the poem to be the limits that her soul can reach at anytime due to any emotion. Whereas with the pause it reads the limits of her soul when she feels useless. Another example of punctuation is in the first line of the poem “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. ” The use of the question marks slightly throws the reader off.
At this point the reader cannot know whether this is a rhetorical question. The opening line might seem to be and impossible or stupid attempt to define the concept of love, but the next sentences settles the mind, as readers see it’s an out loud thought which she answers. Conclusively Elizabeth Barrett Browning,s poem is an effective use of the literary devices point of view and theme, and also her language. These elements in the poem helps the reader to understand what could have easily became a complex piece of work.
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