Oliver Wendell Holmes Writing Styles in The Chambered Nautilus

Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Personification

“Personification,” or the attribution of human qualities to nonhuman objects or creatures, is an important literary technique in “The Chambered Nautilus.” One of the poem's main extended metaphors compares a nautilus to the human soul, and the success of this metaphor depends on imagery that associates the nautilus with a human. Examples of this personification include the idea that the nautilus has a “dreaming life,” its description as a “tenant,” its stealing with “soft step,” its ability to stretch out in a home, and the notion that it is a “child” with “lips.” All of these characteristics are not literally possible in a shelled aquatic creature, and they implore the reader to imagine that the nautilus is human. Holmes uses this technique to develop the idea that the nautilus is a metaphor for the human condition, because personification makes it easier for readers to imagine themselves as a...

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This section contains 355 words
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