Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb” employs metaphor extensively, beginning with the title. A metaphor is a direct comparison of unlike things for effect. Throughout the poem, the speaker refers to multiple difficulties that contemporary Americans are facing. Collectively, these problems are identified as a metaphorical hill. Other metaphors occur in the first few lines. The changes that the speaker anticipates will occur as “day comes,” and encouraging signs are equated with light.
Another device that Gorman uses frequently is alliteration, which the repetition of initial consonant sounds. The initial B is repeated in “We've braved the belly of the beast.” The hard C sound appears in these lines:
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
These lines also exemplify her use of allusion through the reference to other literary texts, historical events, or real or fictional figures. In her work, Gorman alludes to Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech. His lines refer to his children being judged not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Gorman also alludes to poet Maya Angelou’s work “Still I Rise.” Gorman includes a sequence of lines that begin “we will rise.” These lines also use anaphora, a type of repetition in which the same words are repeated at the beginning of lines. In that same speech, Dr. King employed this device in the extensive repetition of “I have a dream.” Gorman has a four-line sequence which presents US geographical diversity.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
She follows this with a slight variation, “We will rebuild,” in a line that also includes alliteration with R in “rebuild, reconcile and recover.”