How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Thematic Analysis

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Love is the main theme of this poem. The poet is trying to explain love by looking at it from different ways. One of the major driving forces behind this theme is that it is repeatedly describable in different ways and words; just like the limitless nature of ones love to another, so are the images and metaphors that are employed to convey love in the poem. In this love sonnet, the poet employs a variety of such metaphors to express her feelings towards her beloved. A powerful notion is highlighted here, which suggests that the more one expresses his or her love towards the other, the stronger the bond becomes, since it has created a positive impression. The love explained in this sonnet covers the present life and life outside the world as expressed in the last line of the poem, I shall, but love thee better after death.

In efforts to express her boundless love to her lover, Browning starts by counting various ways that she loves him. Through the ways mentioned in the poem, it is clear that the poet wants to prove to her lover that he is present in all walks of her life, and that everything around and within her results to that love. The poet further says that love emotions in her are so strong that they fill all the pores of her soul. The speakers affection is part of her life. Even when she tries to imagine the invisible boundaries of the world and her soul, she discovers that the love she has for her lover expands just as far. This implies that her adoration dictates her existence and her entire environment in ways that mortal eyes cannot see; only the poet herself can feel the power of love that envelops her. By the addition of divinity in the poem, she goes beyond to a more humble portrayal of her affection. She states that her lover is comparable to her daily needs. The poet wishes to see her lover in the light of both the sun and the candle, which means that she wants to be with her beloved all the time.

The poet thinks that everyone has an inside fundamental ethical goodness that may help him or her choose the right way. Her love for her lover is as natural as humans abstinence from what evil is. In other words, love comes as effortlessly as the natural benevolence present in a man. She states that she does not write love expecting praise in return; she writes to explain to both the world and her beloved the love that seizes her heart through her words. To stress the magnitude of the love that she feels, the poet asserts that her love is comparable to what one feels when he or she is deeply grieved. Bearing in mind that feelings of grieve are of the earnest kind, the poets love is sincere and deep within her heart (Beaming Notes, 2014).

Literary Devices

This poem adheres to the rules of sonnets. It has fourteen lines and is written in iambic pentameter. One of the most outstanding features of this poem is repetition. One notable feature is that in the poems fourteen lines, the words I love thee are repeated in eight lines, which is more than a half of the sonnet. The word love is repeated ten times. Rather than using the synonyms of love, the poet characterizes different ways of loving. For instance, the speaker differentiates between loving purely and loving freely as well as loving in the other ways. These distinctions are a reminder that the differences are of degree and not differences of love itself. This means that the speakers love is constant and unwavering; though it may vary, it can never change. The repetitive nature of the poem makes the words virtually flow in the mind of the reader. The poem adheres to the rhyme of the Italian sonnets, ABBA, AABB, ACAC, DCD. It has a rhythm of iambic pentameter comprising of ten syllables in every line with five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables.

The poet also employs pleasant sound variations in the poem. In the first few lines, a deep long vowel is presented in the third line. It also includes a repetition of the sound /e/, which adds more feeling to the intensity of the second line. Nevertheless, this alternates later change in the poem. Towards the end of the poem, in the thirteenth line, the words sounds are less deep; they are softer, and shorter. The tone of the poem is that of emotional intimacy and love.

The opening of the poem aids in conveying emotional linking and connection to another. This impact is portrayed in the entire poem as it strives to explain how the speaker is devoted to her beloved. All the imagery in the poem develops from this idea, a tone seeking to communicate the impossible to fully possible. Lines 1-12 employ a super-affectionate tone, but in the thirteenth and the fourteenth line, the poet shifts to a more serious tone. As one engages with the poem for the first time, the first line makes the reader assume that it is a rhetorical question being asked. However, as one reads on, she or he discovers that the rest of the poem answers this question.

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The poet has also employed a considerable quantity of imagery in the poem. Many images are painted in the mind of a reader when reading this: I love thee to the depth and breadth and height. The image creates a picture of undying love in the readers mind. Additionally, the poet compares love to the light of the sun and that of the candle, which suggests that love is constant during the day and at night.

The speaker explains the power of her adoration. She states that love is in every breath she takes. The implication is that she lives to love. This comes from the tears and smiles that tell readers that the speaker loves her beloved in and out of season; she treasures him during the good and the bad times. The poet concludes this poem in a very theoretical message. She describes the love she feels as immortal, and if God allows her, she would never cease loving her lover even after her death. This astonishing conclusion provides an exceptional splendor to the poem that mesmerizes readers and invokes them to contemplate about love.

At the end, the poet achieves her objective: she brings out the remarkable conceptual topic of love with indubitable success. After reading the poem, one is left with a smile on his or her face, wishing that the described love would find way in his or her heart. The artistic use of numerous adjectives, vivid metaphors, and verbs helps the poet achieve a maximum standard in this sonnet (Wordpress.com, 2011).

Metaphor of Night in:Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost

The speaker uses the night metaphor to explain the solitude he endures as he walks through the isolated streets of the city at night. Despite having walked beyond the limits of the city, he has not come across anything to soothe him in his loneliness. Although he meets other people such as the watchman, he is not ready to convey his feelings, because he assumes that no one would understand him. While other people are connected with the daylight, which may mean optimism and happiness, he is acquainted with solitude and cannot find anything common between him and the others around him. The speaker can neither make sense of time as the other people: rather than using a clock, which gives exact time, he stares at the sky to tell time (GradeSaver LLC, n.d.).

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

In this poem, the poet uses the night metaphor for death as well as distress over his fathers approval of it. He requests his father to Rage, rage against the dying of the light, that is, the falling of the night, or rather death, as used in the poem. He pleads with his father to resist death by providing various examples of people who disapprove this unavoidable end. Although he is aware that death is inevitable, he cannot stand watching his father shrivel to insignificance. Finally, he begs the dying parents to resist death, Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light (Dylan, 2006).

In Just by E.E. Cummings

In this poem, words do not just lie on the page; they dance and stretch out to the blank spaces available and others squeeze together in powerful word-clusters. The logic of using this pattern is to affirm that words can independently communicate to the readers eye. Indeed, the way a poem looks affects the way it is heard as well. Similarly, blank spaces have their impact; the reader does not always pause when he or she encounters a blank space. The poet teases the reader to think through problems that are more complex than they might appear at the first glance. The poem is a celebration of spring when everything is green and children enjoy playing exciting youth games.

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