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3 Major Poetic Devices In Vanity By Birago Diop


[feel free to read Breath By Birago Diop]

In the poem Vanity by Birago Diop, there are three major poetic devices that gave the poem her grandeur. These are (1) Imagery (2) Repetition (3) Rhetorical Question.

Before we examine the great impact these three poetic devices have on the poem, takes a look at the several poetic devices in the poem.

(1) Alliteration: The repetition of consonants at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding, or at a short interval. In line 1 "gently gently"in line 8 "what eyes will watch" in line 15 "Dead came with their Dead" in line 25 "Did not understand our dead".

(2) Imagery: This is the use of word in giving vivid picture of an occasion or object or person. In line four "sad complaining voices of beggars" it describes how the voices of the people in the poem look like. "Just as our fears were deaf" is a simile and imagery telling the readers how oblivion the people in the poem were. In line 14 "the black depths of our plaintive throats?" is also an imagery among many that exist in the poem.

[The poem, Ambush By Gbemisola Adeoti also has huge imageries]

(3) Metaphor: This' an indirect comparison which opposes simile that uses "like" and "as" to create its own comparison. In line 4 of the poem "voices of beggars" in line 14 "plaintive throats" in line 9 "the laughter of big children".

(4) Repetition: In the poem, there are repetin tioof words, phrases and lines. "Gengly" "what" "our" "laughter" "mouth" are few words repeated in the poem. There are partial repetition of lines, for instance: line 3 and 5 repeat "who... will hear... without laughter" in line 8 and 10 "what eyes will watch our ... mouths" in line 17 and 19 "just as our ears were deaf" in line 21 and 24 "in the air, in the water, where they have traced their signs".

(5) Rhetorical Question: This' a question posed by a character in a poem which will have no response at all. "Who indeed will hear them without laughter?" line 5, "What eyes will watch our bad mouths?" Other rhetorical questions are in line 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 29.

As said earlier, imagery, repetition and rhetorical questions are the three major poetic devices that aided the sweetness of the poem, the rest devices pillared the three. A vivid look at the simile, metaphor, and personification within the poem, one will see that they all assisted the use of imageries and the cases of alliterations and assonances that existed in the poem; they helped in making the words and lines repetition more accommodating to the readers hearing. The imageries and the repetition also helped in the usage of rhetorical questions.

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings soaring)

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