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Oliver Wendell Holmes Writing Styles in Old Ironsides

Oliver Wendell Holmes
This Study Guide consists of approximately 21 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Old Ironsides.
This section contains 193 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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Style

"Old Ironsides" is written in three, eight-line stanzas, but each stanza really consists of two quatrains (four-line units of verse) consisting of alternating tetrameter and trimeter lines. This means that each first and third line has four stressed syllables, or beats, while each second and fourth line has three stressed syllables. Quatrains written in this manner are called ballad stanzas. Since ballads often address heroic and romantic themes, Holmes may have chosen this form to capture the reader's emotions.

The dominant meter of the poem is iambic, which means the poem's lines are constructed in two-syllable segments, called iambs, in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second is stressed. If we divide the iambs from one another and mark the unstressed and stressed syllables in line 6, for example, it appears like this:

Andburst / thecan / non'sroar;—

The reader will notice the emphasis on the stressed syllables. This pattern...

(read more from the Style section)

This section contains 193 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Old Ironsides Study Guide
Copyrights
Old Ironsides from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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