In the poem, "Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold," what are three human features used to descrbe the wasp?

2 Answers

dcuevas's profile pic

dcuevas | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The human personification of the wasp in the first stanza of Edward Taylor's Upon A Wasp Chilled is not restricted simply to words such as "hands, legs, thighs, fingers and toes." Taylor skillfully incorporated other "human" qualities to the wasp. He has her dressed in petticoats, helmet, and a satin jacket. The simple act of referring to her as "she" is also personification. Note Taylor's choice of verbs: rubs, chafes, stands, stretches, etc. Her actions mirror human movement. Not only does he clother her, ascribe a gender, and have herove in human ways, but he applies human emotion as well: desire, ache, and longing.

Taylor's lengthy and detailed application of human qualities to a wasp are what make this an excellent example of a conceit - extended metaphor.

Taylor is a popular subject of discussion. There are numerous scholarly essays discussing his style and content. JSTOR has some excellent discussions. Enotes also has a full discussion of basic elements of Taylor's poems and specific discussions of his poem Huswifery.