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What are the figures of speech used in "To Autumn" written by John Keats?

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golurikitwinkle | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 8, 2010 at 11:17 PM via web

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What are the figures of speech used in "To Autumn" written by John Keats?

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lindseywarren | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 9, 2010 at 12:19 PM (Answer #1)

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Keats's "To Autumn" uses many literary devices, but several stand out as contributing majorly to the structure of the poem.  The first of these literary devices is apostrophe.  Apostrophe is when the speaker of a poem addresses, or speaks to, something that can't speak back.  In this poem, Keats's speaker is addressing autumn when he asks, "Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?" (line 12).

Another literary device that Keats uses in this poem is personification.  Just as he speaks to autumn, he also personifies (or describes something as if it were a person) autumn as a worker in a granary, sleeping on the floor because of the heavy drowsiness that Keats associates with the season in the first stanza.

A final literary device, and perhaps the most pervasive in the poem, is imagery.  Keats employs visual imagery in the first stanza, in which he describes the "swell[ed]" gourd and the "plump...hazel shells" (7).  In the third stanza, the imagery becomes auditory, as Keats describes the "music" of autumn (23), such as the "twitter[ing]" swallows and the "wailful choir" of gnats (33, 27).

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