Robert Louis Stevenson

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What figurative language does Robert Louis Stevenson use in his poem "Travel"?

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In his poem "Travel," Robert Louis Stevenson uses figurative language devices such as personification, simile, repetition, and rhyming couplets.

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In line 7 of the poem, Stevenson uses personification in the phrase "sunshine reaching out." At this point in the poem, Stevenson is describing the idealistic, utopian land that he would like to go to. He personifies the sun as "reaching out" from this land to suggest that the sun is reaching out to pull him closer to this land of his dreams. The sun connotes brightness and warmth, and so the implication is also that the sun is reaching for him as a happy, welcoming friend might reach out for him.

A little later in the poem, Stevenson uses similes to describe the forests he imagines in this same utopian land. He describes the forests as "wide as England, tall as a spire." These similes suggest that the forests he imagines are huge, in turn suggesting that the land he imagines is a kind of prelapsarian land, relatively untouched by mankind and full of nature.

Stevenson also uses repetition of the phrase "not a" to convey the quiet and peacefulness of this land of his. He says that in this land, there is "Not a foot in street or house, / Not a stir of child or mouse." The repetition of "not a" serves to emphasize just how deserted this place is. This confirms the impression of a place unspoiled by mankind.

Throughout the poem, Stevenson also uses rhyming couplets. The opening two lines, for example, end with the words go and grow, and the final two lines end with the words toys and boys. These rhyming couplets lend to the poem a positive, carefree rhythm and also a sense of completeness, as if to echo the nature of the speaker's wistful, carefree daydreams about this utopian land.

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