05-09-12 Traveling Through the Dark Stafford

05-09-12 Traveling Through the Dark Stafford - An example...

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Benjamin Fornecker Close Reading and Critical Writing September 12, 2005 A Comment on the Use of Personification in William Stafford’s “Traveling through the Dark” William Stafford’s poem “Traveling through the dark” contains two uses of personification in the fourth stanza. Personification can be defined as “a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form” ( www.dictionary.com ). In the fourth stanza, Stafford talks about a car whose “hood purred the steady engine” (Line 14). Later in the same stanza, he explains how the “wilderness listen” (Line 16). In both citations, Stafford gives non-living objects a sense of humanity. At first, this car coming down the road “purrs” (Line 14) its engine, showing that the road is long and quiet when this vehicle travels through.
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Unformatted text preview: An example of something that could possibly purr would be a cat. Giving this feature to a car enhances the story by trying to give this lifeless object a sense of being alive. During this calm silence, the wilderness also “listens” (Line 16) as if it wants to hear what is going on. In reality, wilderness doesn’t have any ears or any human qualities that would allow it to listen to anything. It shows that the “narrow” (Line 4) and peaceful road has just witnessed a tragedy. The effectiveness of using personification in any poem is to show how these non-living objects can actually react to things that happen. It enriches the poem by giving it some substance and allows it to be interpreted easier than no use of personification or any other literary term. (6 citation, 246 words)...
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course ENRU 1240 taught by Professor Kerins during the Fall '08 term at Fordham.

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