Indepth Analysis Of Christina Rossetti's "When I Am Dead, My Dearest"

2898 words - 12 pages

Hersh PatelPoetry ProjectAP English III"When I Am Dead, My Dearest"Literal and Figural MeaningThe poem literally illustrates the speaker's reflection upon whether or not he or she and the "dearest" shall remember one another when the speaker dies. Yet, figuratively, the poem conveys the poet's perception of death as a dreamy, intermediate existence that compares to "twilight".Structure and MeaningChristina Rossetti strategically structures her poem, "When I am dead, my dearest" to convey her notion of love and death. She presents her stanzaic poem through two octaves with the pattern iambic abc4b3deFE3. Even though Rossetti writes six of the sixteen lines in iambic trimeter, the abundance of variation throughout the octaves portrays the poem as more of a free verse. On average, Rossetti uses 6.7 syllables per line, which, in a way, conveys the sensation of uneasiness and uncertainty that humans feel towards the notion of death since the syllables irregularly vary per line. Rossetti employs this method of confusion throughout her poem in order to establish a comparison between the perplexity with which humans view death and the optimism with which Rossetti views it.Rossetti, in her poem, ponders upon death and whether or not her beloved and she may "remember" each other after she dies. In the first stanza, Rossetti requests her dearly loved to perform certain actions "above" her grave once she dies. By presenting this image of an ideal ceremony occurring above her grave through the first stanza, Rossetti differentiates between underground as being the stage of death, and above ground as being the stage of life. Each stanza, therefore, structurally demonstrates this notion of life above and death below as Rossetti places the stanza regarding the ceremonies above the second stanza, which enters the realm of unknown, where Rossetti offers her view of the afterlife from deep beneath the ground in her grave.Rossetti applies the variations in the iambic pattern of this poem for the same reason that she does not employ a sonnet structure even though this poem speaks of love. A sonnet, traditionally, conveys the sensation or emotions of love, yet, by merely employing free verse, Rossetti implies that she herself shall "forget" her beloved after she dies. Similarly, Rossetti varies the metrical structure of the poem to demonstrate the mystification she experiences as she ponders upon whether she shall "remember" or "forget" her love. The erratic structure also demonstrates the spontaneity with which Rossetti creates her poems; as mentioned previously, as an extremely religious woman, Rossetti endeavors to conceal her passionate emotions, yet, while writing verse, her passion prevails over her religious morals, at times, and the poem becomes a heart-rending depiction of her innermost thoughts.By structuring most of the lines with three feet, Rossetti conveys a sense of the three religious layers of heaven, earth, and hell. This structure, in conjunction...

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