Rainer Maria Rilke Writing Styles in Childhood

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Impressionism

Rilke describes emotions in this poem impressionistically. Impressionism seeks to depict scenes or characters by using concrete details to evoke subjective and sensory impressions, rather than to accurately depict an objective reality. For example, Rilke refers to the experience of the child's unbearable waiting for the school day to end as "lumpish time," and the place where he plays after school ends as "some green place." Writers who helped popularize impressionistic writing include Thomas Mann, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce.

Sound

Rilke uses a variety of sonic techniques to create his impressionistic effects. He uses alliteration in phrases such as "Dumpfen dingen" ("things so dumb and stupid") and "Welt so weit" ("world . . . so huge") to emphasize the imagery, and he uses assonance in phrases such as "kleinen steifen" ("small / puppety") and "O Traum, o Grauen" ("what dream, what heaviness") to focus the reader's attention on the emotion packed...

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This section contains 247 words
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Buy the Childhood Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Childhood from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.