Autumn Questions and Answers
by Roy Campbell

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What is the effect of the run-on lines in stanza three of Roy Campbell's poem "Autumn"?

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As you read Roy Campbell’s poem “Autumn,” the first two stanzas describe the slow, rhythmic fluctuations of the seasons. Campbell speaks of the changes that autumn makes in nature as it slips into winter. The author describes the appearance of the trees as they become bare and bleak as the trunk and branches are exposed. To him these are works of art.  It is a slow plodding change.

In the third stanza, Campbell has one line run into the next as the process and transformation speeds up; it creates urgency and exposes the cyclical nature of seasonal change. The writing makes the reader move from line to line more quickly without stopping. The olive branches are bare and lightened of their load while the “vats” of olive oil fill-up. The olives are transformed into oil which the poet explains is the vestige of the summer. He uses this writing technique to demonstrate the non-stop change of the seasons through the metaphor of the transformation of the olives into oil that lasts throughout the winter while reminding one of summer.

In the last stanza, he again slows the pace. autumn turns to winter when wine is enjoyed with a warm fire in the hearth.

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