A metaphor is a direct comparison between two unlike things for effect. Connotation is the meaning suggested by text, in contrast to denotation, which is its immediate or literal meaning.
The speaker refers to “hearing” the cold “splintering, breaking,” which gives cold a metaphorical usage; it cannot be heard. Cold here stands for the objects that are thus affected by it, such as tree branches. In his making the fire, having “driven out the cold” metaphorically represents his father’s love.
The connotations in the poem include those of individual words or passages and the large meaning of the poem as a whole. The weather has connotations of emotion. Cold is contrasted to warmth as an emotional tone. Before the fire is lit, the house is cold, but after it warms up, the speaker mentions “the chronic angers of that house.” Warmth thus connotes anger. At the end of stanza 1, the speaker says “No one ever thanked him.” The connotation of this can be gained from the beginning...
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