What poetic devices does Gwendolyn Brooks use in her poem "A Song in the Front Yard"?

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Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “A Song in the Front Yard” is about a girl who, despite the warnings of her strict mother, wants to experience the other side of life—a side of life that her mother fears will get her into trouble.

As is the case with all poetry, there are a number of poetic devices at work at the same time. The above post cited alliteration, hyperbole, and personification. I would add the devices of extended metaphor, repetition, and contrast.

Like many poems that utilize figurative language, this poem is built around an extended metaphor. An extended metaphor is a metaphor that is developed over the course of several (or many) lines. Brooks’ creates the metaphor in the very first line with the words:

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.

Notice how the entire remainder of the poem is concerned with what is in the “front yard,” which is where her mother wants her stay, and what is in the “back yard,” which is forbidden but where the speaker wants to go. The two...

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