Octavio Paz

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What are some literary devices used in Paz's "As One Listens to the Rain" and "Summit and Gravity" that support the main theme of each poem? I need to explicate the poems to support the main themes of each poem.

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In "As One Listens to the Rain," Octavio Paz uses imagery and personification to highlight the closeness of the narrator to nature. He uses the imperative voice sometimes, urging the reader to listen to the rain or to pay attention to the nocturnal landscape that he describing, thus also drawing the reader closer to nature. The poem urges one to listen to the rain as if the rain is capable of saying things; this imbues nature with an almost human quality. In the line “your fingers of water dampen my forehead," the poet personifies the rain, thus highlighting the idea that the rain is something animate.

In "Summit and Gravity," Paz uses metaphorical language to highlight the interconnectedness of all of nature. The birds' beaks "construct the night" and their wings are said to "carry the day;" these lines underscore the relationship between the framework of nature and all that's contained within it.

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Octavio Paz uses elements from nature in both "As One Listens to the Rain" and "Summit and Gravity" to evoke strong emotions.  In the love poem, "As One Listens to the Rain," Paz recreates the incantatory sound of rain drumming on the roof.  He uses repetition and a strong regular rhythm to achieve this effect.  These literary devices can be seen in lines such as "it is the mist, wandering in the night, / it is the night, asleep in your bed."  This incantatory effect is powerful, in the same way that the speaker's feelings for the "you" are.  In addition, the relentless rhythm evokes timelessness, mirroring the speaker's timeless love.

In "Summit and Gravity," Paz evokes both the Garden of Eden and Isaac Newton, turning the apple into the ultimate symbol of knowledge.  He uses metaphor to describe the fruit, "The seal of the scorched year / The carnal firebrand/The star fruit."  He also uses juxtaposition.  As the fruit falls, a flock of birds rises into the sky.  These opposing actions allow the speaker to discover the miracle of gravity.

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