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What is an example of personification and metaphors in poem at "Thirty nine" by Alice...

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ben-freeman | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2010 at 11:27 PM via web

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What is an example of personification and metaphors in poem at "Thirty nine" by Alice Walker?

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 1, 2010 at 3:49 AM (Answer #1)

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In this poem, the speaker is reflecting on her past relationship with her father as she thinks about how she has lived her life to date.  It has a sweet, somber, yet strong tone to convey her sense of herself by the end of it.

Walker uses a small measure of personfication in the 3rd stanza when she says, "many of my truths must have grieved him."  Personification is the act of assigning human actions or characteristics to non-human things.  In this case, truths can't do anything but exist as facts.  In this line, she is commenting on the truths as having the ability to cause grief, which is certainly a truth of life, but it's not anything the truth can choose to set out and do.

Walker uses a clear metaphor in the 5th stanza, comparing the living of her life to the act of cooking.  She specifically talks about "seasoning none of my life the same way twice."  She is talking about adding interest and enhancement to her food by adding salt, pepper, and any other number of flavorings, but is suggesting that she has done a great variety of things in her life to make it interesting and unique.  She doesn't do the same things over and over again.  Ultimately, she thinks her dad would admire what she has done for herself -- she seems proud of the way she has lived her life.

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