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What are the literary devices found in this poem ("Otherwise" by Jane...

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jaxpi | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM via web

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What are the literary devices found in this poem ("Otherwise" by Jane Kenyon)?

Otherwise

Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM (Answer #1)

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There are a few different literary (or poetic) devices used in the poem "Otherwise" by Jane Kenyon.

Assonance- Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound within a line of poetry. Assonance is found in the first line of the poem.

I got out of bed.

Here, the "o" sound is repeated in both "got" and "out."

Imagery- Imagery is the use of words/descriptions which appeal to the senses of the reader and allow the creation of a mental image for the reader (as to what is going on or being described). An example of imagery can be found in lines four through seven.

I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach.

Here, Kenyon is appealing to the sense of smell, sight, taste, and touch. The description of the cereal, the milk, and the peach can appeal to the senses of an engaged reader and allow them o create a mental image of what Kenyon's breakfast looked, felt, smelled, and tasted like.


Alliteration- Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound within a line of poetry. An example of alliteration is found in line fourteen:

with my mate. It might

In this line the "m" sound is repeated in the words "my," "mate," and "might."

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