What is the chief figure of speech in Williams'  "The Yachts", and what does it seem to say about williams' subject?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the poem 'The Yachts' by William Carlos Williams, a figure of speech which foreshadows the ending theme would be the simile:

'rare as the light of a happy eye'

where the yachts beauty and effortless mastery of wind, weather and sea are described in cheerful positive terms of happiness. Williams has mentioned then, that this happiness of eye is not a common thing - indeed his perception is that it is very rare. He develops this theme slowly throughout the rest of the poem, gradually building a crescendo of misery, agony and pain out of a seemingly calm and weather set-fair moment. By the end of the poem the race has become a 'horror' and 'desolation' and loneliness prevail as the cries of the needy are ignored.

happyhab | Student

The chief figure of speech in "The Yachts" is personafication. The ships and the water are given human characteristics throughout the poem.

"Now the sea holds them

is moody, lapping their glossy sides"


"In a well guarded arena of open water surrounded by

lesser and greater craft which, sycophant, lumbering

and flittering follow them, they appear youthful, rare"