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D. H. Lawrence

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What are some literary devices in the poem “Bat”?

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Literary devices in D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Bat” include alliteration, simile, metaphor, and personification.

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In his poem “Bat,” D. H. Lawrence uses a variety of literary devices. Prominent devices include alliteration, consonance, assonance, simile, metaphor, and personification. The speaker comments on their realization that they are seeing bats in the Florence night sky.

Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds, while in consonance, such sounds are repeated within the word. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds. Lawrence often combines all three devices within one line or a few sequential lines. For example, lines 4–8 include alliteration using fl and gl along with assonance in the long o and closely related oo and short u sounds: “flower,” “Florence,” “flush,” and “gloom” and “glowing.” Related assonance also appears in the ou of of “Brown” and “surrounding.” Assonance occurs combined with consonance in “arches” and “Arno.”

Alliteration is even more pronounced, with several variants of initial s sounds in line 11. This line includes more assonance of long o and oo:

Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.

Line 11 also uses a metaphor, a direct comparison of unlike things for effect. The swallows’ motions are compared to sewing with thread. This line also uses personification, the attribution of human qualities to animals, objects, or abstract concepts.

Lines 22–23 use a simile, a comparison of unlike things for effect using “like” or “as.” The speaker compares the birds (as they still believe they are seeing) to a thrown glove:

And serrated wings against the sky,

Like a glove, a black glove thrown up at the light.

Further down in the poem, after the speaker realizes they are actually seeing bats, they use another simile, twice comparing the hanging bats to rags:

Creatures that hang themselves up like an old rag…

Hanging upside down like rows of disgusting old rags.

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