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Using the poems in this list, find examples of abstract Concrete language. Use...

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moocow554 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:28 PM via web

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Using the poems in this list, find examples of abstract Concrete language. Use specific quotes from the poems.

 These are the poems in which i have to use. Thanks

“I heard a Fly buzz—when I Died” by Emily Dickenson

“Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickenson

“My life closed twice before its close” by Emily Dickenson

“The soul selects her own Society” by Emily Dickenson

“There’s a certain Slant of light” by Emily Dickenson

“The First Snowfall” by James Russell Lowell

“The Snowstorm” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath

“In a Classroom” by Adrienne Rich

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handbooktoliterature | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 31, 2013 at 1:07 AM (Answer #1)

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First, you need to know the difference between abstract and concrete language. Concrete language refers to something specific and tangible, and this leads to more precise visualization for the reader.

Abstract language refers to something vague and obscure, OR it may simply refer to broad more subjective ideas and feelings that are not easily visualized or may be visualized quite differently by the reader.

Dickenson's first poem listed can almost be broken into two parts, the abstract coming first followed by the concrete. Death, although a common theme, idea, and happening around us is a very abstract event/idea to most. However, in the poem the idea of death seems to be embodied by the presence of the fly. Compare all of the lines which refer to the fly (concrete) with the lines focused more on death in general (abstract).

The first stanza begins concretely, "I heard a fly buzz when I died." However, her simile in line two comparing "The stillness round my form" is much more abstract. Can one picture the stillness around a form or of a form?

Stanzas two and three continue with abstract description of what is happening to the speaker in the moment of dying until the final line of stanza three when, " There interposed a fly." Stanza four follows with very concrete language and imagery which seems to take all the poetry and mystery out of death and simply churn back to cruel nature i.e. the fly.

 

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