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What is the extended metaphor of the poem "A Poison Tree"?

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zackcool1 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2008 at 9:02 AM via web

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What is the extended metaphor of the poem "A Poison Tree"?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:09 AM (Answer #1)

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The extended metaphor is comparing anger to a plant (the poison tree of the title). The process of cultivating one's emotions (as seen in the line " And I watered it in fears") is compared to cultivating a plant. The emotion is followed through an entire growth cycle, until it blossoms into death.  There is a secondary metaphor implied by the apple; Blake is tied the anger of the poem with the pride of the biblical story of Adam and Eve. This becomes a kind of original sin.

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parkourfreak | Student , Grade 9 | Honors

Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM (Answer #2)

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The extended metaphor in the poem is the metaphor of the poison tree being a tree. The poem explores the malignant nature of hate as a living object which can grow and flourish as seen in line nine, “And it grew both day and night.” Blake subverts the natural image of a tree and growth, using this to emphasize how hatred is also a living and growing force. The description of hate as one which “grew both day and night,” and, “bore an apple bright,” illustrates Blake’s idea that like the slow growth of a tree, anger and wrath, when not controlled, can transform into something as mighty and deadly as a poison tree.

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