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An Explication Of Eavan Boland's "The Necessity For Irony

957 words - 4 pages

Eavan Boland's poem "The Necessity for Irony" begins in narrative tone, when on a unremarkable Sunday Eavan, with her daughter, go browsing for antiques in town. However, by the end of the poem, Eavan's tone is lyrical, as she sends an apostrophe to the "spirit of irony," asking it to "reproach" her for focusing on antiques rather than what was truly beautiful, her child. Her dramatic shift in tone is slow and accomplished using various techniques.In the first stanza of "The Necessity for Irony," Eavan begins to build the antique shopping scene:"On Sundays,when the rain held off,after lunch or later,I would go with my twelve year olddaughter into town,and put down the timeat junk sales, antique fairs." (1-7)The beginning of the poem is narrative; Boland crafts an image, each line adding an additional detail, of the Sunday she plans to spend antique shopping with her daughter. The stanza's tone is emotionless and only gives details to Boland's routine. Also, this stanza is one long sentence; when it is read, the tone is simply descriptive, and each line lacks emphasis and powerful feeling. Boland focuses this stanza on description of the setting.In the second stanza Boland continues to describe the setting, and introduces her daughter:There I wouldlean over tables,absorbed byplace, wooden frames,glass. My daughter stoodat the other end of the room,her flame-coloured hairobvious whenever--which was not often-- " (8-16)Boland says it explicitly: she was "absorbed by / place, wooden frames, / glass." Boland is absorbed by the antique-place, and ignores her daughter, who is in a different place, "at the other end of the room." Here Boland introduces the physical distance between her and daughter, caused by Boland's interest and her daughter's apparent disinterest in these antiques, or Boland's neglect to fully include her daughter in her antique hunting expeditions. Also, Boland can only describe her daughters location as it relates to the location of the antiques; Boland shows her antique-centric way of thinking.But although Boland is "absorbed by / place, wooden frames, / glass," her daughters "flame-coloured hair / obvious whenever-- / which was not often-- // I turned around" (14-17). Despite Boland's fixation on the "wooden frames, / glass," the "flame-coloured hair" of her daughter is obvious to her, on the rare occasion she turns around. Flames have a connotation of vitality, vibrancy and life, especially compared to what must be the dusty, worn and dull antique "wooden frames, / glass" that Boland is usually fixed upon. Thus Boland's daughter's "flame-coloured hair" is not only literally obvious, but the vitality and youth of her daughter is also obvious to Boland, and she knowingly disregards the fiery youth and vibrancy of her daughter in favor of the antiques.After this acknowledgement of her daughters vitality and power, there is a dramatic...

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