* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Wanderer

The Wanderer

by Anonymous

Kennings

Symbol Analysis

Anglo-Saxon poetry uses a poetic device called a "kenning," a compound noun that's used in place of a simpler, one-word noun. A kenning is often a metaphorical or symbolic expression. The most famous example in Anglo-Saxon poetry is "whale-road," used in line 10 of Beowulf to refer to the ocean. Kennings sometimes get lost in translation, but the version of "The Wanderer" we're using maintains many of them. One of them is "earth-stepper" (line 6) in place of "wanderer" or "traveler." Another, more obviously metaphorical kenning is "wealth-chamber," used to refer to the mind or heart in line 14. Can you spot other kennings in the poem? (Hint: In modern English translations, they usually have a hyphen.)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement