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by Rita Dove

Parsley Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

So, there are two parts to this poem and they don't really look anything alike, as far as form is concerned. The first part is a loose villanelle form, the second part is in free verse. The first b...


Think of the speaker as an interested and horrified third party. We're not coming at this from anyone's specific point of view, unless you want to count the poet herself. But there is no "I" in thi...


We're in one country for this poem, but in two separate locales. In the first part of the poem, we're out in Trujillo's sugarcane fields in the Dominican Republic, with his Haitian workers. In the...

Sound Check

The speaker, in some ways, sounds mildly incredulous. Sometimes when you're trying to convince yourself of something, you have to say it more than once. That's one of the bigger sound markers in th...

What's Up With the Title?

The title, thankfully, is pretty self-explanatory. The entire event, as Dove conjures it, centers around the single word – "parsley" – that becomes the title. The historical event is, a...

Calling Card

One of the more impressive things about "Parsley" is how it hints at a vast amount of death without actually – save a few spots – going right out and saying it. Instead of railing again...


Once you get some historical background on what the poem is actually about, it's not too hard to figure out this poem. What we love about "Parsley" is the way in which it uses that great metaphor &...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Lots of violence and horror, but certainly no sex in this poem.

Shout Outs

Rafael TrujilloThe Parsley Massacre

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