Hi.. In The poem The Wind by James Stephens   Discuss the the text at the level of denotation and connotation?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning your question about "The Wind," by James Stephens, I suggest one aspect, in particular, of denotation and connotation is worth discussing or analyzing. 

First I have to warn you that these are my own thoughts, and I have no corroboration for my answer, which is unusual.  In other words, I could be dead wrong and not know it, so judge my answer on its merits, and determine for yourself whether or not my thoughts are accurate.

I suggest that most of the words the speaker uses in the poem are words that in themselves do not have strong connotations.  The words are, in a sense, neutral.  The connotations of the words within the poem are created by the content and the situation. 

"Shout," for instance, can be a yell from a cheerleader or a soldier as he kills, or anything in between; "Kicked," could refer to a ball or a human being;  "thumped," a dropped book or a skull.  But the connotations in the poem are established by the context and the situation.  These words when used to personify destructive wind suggest unstoppable, merciless power. 

Again, the words in the poem do not naturally have strong connotations like, say, spring or freedom.  But strong connotations are created by the content and the situation.

Of course, content and situation are established mostly by the repetition of a word that does naturally carry heavy connotation:

And said he'll kill, and kill, and kill;

And so he will!  And so he will!

The use of kill emphasizes the unrelenting, merciless power of nature--the wind, here--and gives the otherwise neutral words connotations like that of "kill."