Linda Pastan Writing Styles in The Cossacks

Linda Pastan
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Metaphor

Known for her use of metaphor, Pastan uses powerful images in “The Cossacks” to portray death. The dominant metaphor in the poem is the representation of the Cossacks as death itself. It is a particularly strong metaphor because it reveals precisely how the speaker views death. Death has been portrayed in numerous ways by poets, and while others may see it variously as a peaceful figure, a welcome figure, or even a worthy adversary, Pastan's speaker views death as a ruthless mercenary who actively pursues her. Because Pastan refers to her own Judaic background in the first line, the image of the Cossacks adds an element of terror. The Cossacks massacred Russian Jews in the nineteenth century, so they represent cruelty and persecution to Pastan and her speaker. In the first line, the speaker states, “For Jews, the Cossacks are always coming.” She immediately describes assuming that she...

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This section contains 616 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Cossacks Study Guide
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