In Particular

What is the author's style in In Particular by Elena Karina Byrne?

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While the first part of the poem, where Byrne talks about the primitive mind in general, seems to serve merely as an introduction to the topic, this section has another, very important purpose. This first section foreshadows, or hints at, what is to come later in the poem. The style of language that Byrne uses to discuss creative inspiration in this first section, lines 1—10, also foreshadows the idea of sudden disaster. For example, when the poem first starts, Byrne describes inspiration as being "like a swarm of bees." While this type of language conveys speed, it also has negative connotations, since bees sting and are often looked at based on this negative fact. Likewise, as the poem continues, Byrne uses phrases such as "wild stir / of insects" and "flurry of birds." Again, while the primary purpose of these words is to convey the sudden speed with which an inspiration hits somebody, these words also have negative overtones. When bees "swarm," insects stir in a "wild" fashion, or birds fly away in a "flurry," it is often a survival tactic. Either a predator has been spotted or another stimulus has been identified that taps into the creatures' instinct and forces them to act. Even the use of the word "tightened" in line 9 has negative emotional overtones, as if somebody's gut is being tightened—which is one of the common physiological responses when a human is exposed to a stressful or potentially dangerous stimulus. Collectively, all of these potent words foreshadow the negative "sudden disaster" situation later in the poem, a situation that carries with it an "inhospitable truth." Although this truth is never clearly expressed, it is quite possible, as the words "last time" indicate, that this truth is a potentially fatal disaster.


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