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A Poetical Psychoanalysis: Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What Lips My Lips Deliver Kissed”

Updated on July 16, 2016



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Edna St. Vincent Millay in Mamaroneck,[7] NY, 1914, by Arnold Genthe. | Origin

Poesy is an art manakin that one moldiness payoff meter to decent canvass for it to be accurately silent. Fair similar forcible art study that is displayed in museums, verse moldiness be considered from all angles. Literary concepts, such as the loudspeaker, construction, cast, tint, lexicon, round, sounds of terminology, figural nomenclature, and references and allusions, mustiness all be considered when recitation poesy because composite notions are brought to igniter when verse is scrutinized.

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E.g., a unproblematic fourteen-line poem with about rime system may at kickoff recital look to be sole that, but upon farther review the poem becomes more barely a routine poem and is seen to be a multipart sonnet.

Thither are two kinds of sonnets, the Shakespearean sonnet and the Italian sonnet. The latter consists of a rudimentary jailbreak “between the get-go 8 lines (called an octave) and the death six (called a 6). Its “typical” verse outline is abbabba cdecde” (832). An instance of an Italian sonnet is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What lips my lips bear kissed.” The poem follows the abbabba cdecde construction and provides various more examples of literary concepts. “What lips my lips sustain kissed” is a gravid representative of how literary concepts compound to brand a composite and meaningful sonnet.

Millay incorporates literary concepts, such as the bearing of a loudspeaker, tincture, lexicon, sounds of terminology, figural words, and construction, to shuffling the sonnet more intricate and pregnant.

The virtually obvious berth to jump analyzing the poem is with the loudspeaker. The poem is scripted in the offset individual with the verbaliser recalling how he or she has disregarded “loves” (Millay 12) of the yesteryear. Since the sonnet is scripted in the low somebody, it is as if the referee is really capable to turn the verbaliser. The strain is evidently notable because all lines exclude the close hold language in the past, such as “kissed” (Millay 1), “unremembered” (Millay 7), and “sang” (Millay 13). Upon arrival the finis cable, the poem straightaway changes to the present with the parole “sings” (Millay 14). This apparently undistinguished transposition in strain way the poem is a observation the loudspeaker is having on the preceding and, judgement by the melancholic lexicon, the verbaliser is rather sad around how the yesteryear has stirred the deliver.

This glooming timber is emphasised in the use of sad dustup in the next lines:

And in my bosom thither stirs a tranquility infliction

For unremembered lads that not again

Bequeath address me at midnight with a cry…

I sole live that summertime sang in me

A fiddling patch, that in me sings no. (6-8, 13-14)

Although all of these lines are patently uncheerful for the loudspeaker, the conclusion demarcation is peculiarly disturbing because of the emplacement of the comma. Without fillet, the utterer says, “I solitary cognize that summertime sang in me / A picayune while…” (Millay 13-14), rebuff suspension, “that in me sings no more” (Millay 14). The curt hesitate enhances the sad shade because the talker is declaring that his or her felicity is asleep and it appears it leave not homecoming.

Moreover, the lexicon the verbaliser uses stresses the speaker’s sorrowfulness with row wish “forgotten” (Millay 2), “ghosts” (Millay 4), “pain” (Millay 6), “lonely” (Millay 9), “vanished” (Millay 10), and “silent” (Millay 11). From the first all of these language get an boilersuit disconsolate, cloistered impression. In plus, the sounds the run-in shuffling avail heighten the boilersuit dark impression with lines wish: “What lips my lips sustain kissed, and where, and why, / I suffer disregarded, and what weaponry sustain lain” (Millay 1-2). Hither, the tranquillize, shine w audio is recurrent always. The tranquility sounds this alliteration makes is lone crushed by the rough k fathom in “kissed” (Millay 1). This delve an differently humdrum demarcation may suffer been through to brand the news “kissed” (Millay 1) excel. Aft all, the sonnet is some a utterer who is recalling how he or she does not retrieve by lovers he or she has kissed. With such a somber step, uncheerful lexicon, and the sedate, serenity strait of row put-upon it is discernible that the verbalizer wants the lecturer to real hurt the like sorrow he or she is notion done the schoolbook.

Additionally, the nonliteral words, mainly metaphors, very brings the poem to aliveness. The subscriber is strained to visualise the by “loves” (Millay 12) as the never-ending tapping fathom the pelting makes on a elvis recent at nighttime. So the utterer is equated to a “lonely tree” (Millay 9) from whom all the birds suffer fled for the wintertime. These metaphors, though perhaps not ascertained directly, too present the speaker’s feelings as shaped with sorrowfulness and forlornness.

Last, the rating concludes by examining the poem’s construction. The sonnet has been constructed in a way that the octave is made into one condemn and the six is likewise one condemnation. It is remarkable to land that the two sentences are so jam-packed collectively item that one may flavour vivid enjambement in the poem if it were not permeated with commas and over-the-counter pauses. The gaolbreak betwixt the octave and the sextuplet besides help as a shifting in the poem. Earlier the jailbreak, the poem is extremely musing and subsequently, the poem becomes more rueful.

Unitedly all of these literary concepts countenance the subscriber to convincingly turn the verbaliser in but 14 lines of poesy.

The sonnet, “What lips my lips suffer kissed,” becomes more composite and substantial done the use of literary concepts that expect the speaker’s feelings of sorrow and compunction from the foliate into the reader’s psyche. These intensely disconsolate emotions are emphasised by the front of a verbaliser, the shade, lexicon, sounds of words, figural speech, and construction put-upon. Fair alike an artist may apply colouration, grain, metier, and spa to fetch their slice of art to aliveness, a poet mustiness use these kinds of literary concepts to play their ideas, emotions, and level to spirit.

Workings Cited

The Norton Debut to Lit . Ed. Allison Cubicle and Kelly J. Mays. 10 th ed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Troupe, Inc., 2010. Publish.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent. “[What lips my lips birth kissed, and where, and why].” The Norton Foundation to Lit . Ed. Allison Stall and Kelly J. Mays. 10 th ed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Society, Inc., 2010. 841. Mark.

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