Analysis of Countee Cullens Yet Do I Marvel
Poetry is often meant to be smooth, flowing, pleasing to the ear and the mind. To achieve this effect, many poets use different poetic techniques to help convey the meanings of their poetry. In the sonnet, 'Yet Do I Marvel' written by Countee Cullen, many different features of poetry is used. In this essay, I will discuss the relationship between the meanings and the theme Cullen tries to convey in his sonnet and the techniques of metaphors, both religious and non-religious, allusions to Greek mythology, different rhyme schemes and repetition that he uses.
In his sonnet, Cullen uses strong themes of religious metaphors while adding many non-religious metaphors at the same time. The continuing theme throughout the sonnet is the mysteriousness of God, and how He is unwilling to share the secrets of the universe by answering the speaker's questions. Cullen begins with stating that his belief in God is that God is good natured, 'I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,' (Line 1). The first line briefly makes your mind question the sentence while you experience the starting of the theme. Using different metaphors, Cullen vividly expresses his confusion of what the purpose of his existence is and why God does what he does. 'And did He stoop to quibble could tell why / The little buried mole continues blind, / Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,' (Lines 2 - 4). In these lines, Cullen clarifies his position with God in stating that his questions are but 'quibble' to God, thus putting himself far below God. Cullen uses the metaphor of the mole to represent how he is blind to the reasoning of God's actions, while at the same time questioning God of why a little mole continues to live blind. In the next line, Cullen uses a biblical metaphor when mentioning 'flesh that mirrors Him' as it is in the bible that it states 'God created Adam in His image.' Cullen refers this flesh to be humans and questions God for the purpose of death. Using these metaphors, Cullen creates a more vivid image in the imagination than he would if he were to question God outright. ?Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,? carries many more metaphorical images than ?Why do we die?? does, and that is one of the efforts and understanding Cullen is most likely trying to convey in his sonnet.
Cullen?s brilliant use of allusions in his sonnet not only helps to emphasize his theme, but also reinforces his metaphors and clarifies interpretations of his sonnet. Allusions of Greek mythology provide excellent images for Cullen?s questions as the mythology seem like metaphors themselves. ?Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus / Is baited by the fickle fruit,? (Lines 5 ? 6). In Greek mythology, Tantalus was one of Zeus?s non-immortal sons who became immortal by dining with the Gods. However, after telling his friends the secrets of the Gods, he was punished by being place up to his chin in water that he...