Identify a poetic device employed in Tagore's "Leave This."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the strongest poetic devices that is evident in the Tagore poem is the use of thematic repetition.  Tagore uses the opening words, the title, of the poem to make clear that religious spirituality and service are linked to one another.  He constructs the idea that in order for one to become closer to the divine, one has to leave the elitist and cloistered world of institutional religion and seek to broaden the experience in searching for the salvation of the transcendent. Through the use of imagery that makes clear the distinction between the institution and practice, Tagore repeats these images in different contexts to illuminate the theme he wishes to convey.  The "beads" and "chanting" in the opening line is continued in the second stanza with what happens outside the realm of the institutional and conformist notion of religion.  Leaving "meditations" and "incense" in the last stanza is a way for Tagore to bring out the idea that the sole embrace of conformist and institutional religious practice is not full realization of the power of the divine.  In stressing the difference between both realms, Tagore repeats the juxtaposition in order to bring out that unity is only possible when one does not cleave to what is expected.  Rather, when an individual goes out and seeks to broaden the religious experience with as many varied peoples as possible, one finds the true power of religious thought.  It is through repetition of the differences between the world within institutional religion and the experiential based world outside of it that individuals can find true and lasting visions of happiness.  This repetition is what helps to enhance the poem's effectiveness.


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