And What If I Spoke of Despair Essay

Ellen Bass
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Poquette has a bachelor's degree in English and specializes in writing about literature. In the following essay, Poquette discusses Bass's use of opposites, symbolism, and metaphor in her poem.

Throughout history, poets have often written elegies—mournful, sorrowful poetry that expresses despair over something that is gone, generally something that was once living and is now dead. In most cases, the poet writes about a person or group of people that have passed away. Bass's poem is slightly different. Her elegy mourns the loss of nature itself, which is being altered by human intervention through processes such as environmental destruction and genetic engineering. Since her poem is mourning the loss of something, it does not differ in a basic sense from any other elegy. Bass's poem does have one huge difference, however. Her poem is an elegy for something that is not yet dead. As she is writing...

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This section contains 1,528 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the And What If I Spoke of Despair Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
And What If I Spoke of Despair from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.