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How to Read a Poem
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Symbolism, 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
Free Verse in Sonnet's ClothingRhyming lines? Nope. Regular meter? Not that we can see. While most of the lines do look like they are around the same length (7-8 syllables), we also get these long,...
The poem is called "Silence," and, unsurprisingly, the speaker keeps pretty silent about herself. Yes, she tells us that she has a father, but then again, we all technically have fathers, right? An...
The speaker doesn't give any clues about where, exactly, we're all supposed to be. There are her father's references to Longfellow's grave and the glass flowers at Harvard, but they only indicate...
Have you ever overheard someone in a restaurant telling a funny story, or have you ever woken up from a really vivid dream and immediately reached for a piece of paper to jot some notes? This poem...
What's Up With the Title?
We don't have to dig around too much to figure out what the title, "Silence," means. In the poem's lines 11-12, the speaker's father dishes out this bit of wisdom: "The deepest feeling always shows...
Conversational Quotations, Curious Cultural ReferencesMoore found inspiration for her poems in all sorts of weird places. We can easily imagine her (wearing her cape and George Washington hat, of c...
(3) Base CampUnderstanding the actual text of the poem is not hard at all. There aren't any long, weird SAT words, the poem's literary references are folded into normal, everyday speech, and the oc...
Moore never really knew her father, John Milton Moore. He had a nervous breakdown just before she was born and was committed to a mental institution in Missouri. A few years later, Marianne's mothe...
GWhile we could say that the cat-taking-mouse-as-prey imagery serves up some violence in the poem, let's be blunt here: Moore, as a poet, is really just not that into the sexy, sensational, or scan...
Literary ReferencesHenry Wadsworth Longfellow (3)Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance" (5)Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Experience" (7) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Resignation" (11-12)Edmund Burke (13) –...
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