What are the literary elements used in the poem? Many thanks!

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sexton uses a number of literary elements, including figurative language, in her poem. She chooses similes and metaphors that inject a sense of modern humor into the traditional fairy tale. For example, the poet compares Snow White's cheeks to "cigarette paper," and later, the evil queen wraps lacing around Snow White "as tight as an Ace bandage." These similes also introduce an element of sly humor into the tale. Sexton also chooses figurative language that is fresh and evocative. For example, after the evil queen tries to kill Snow White, the girl is compared to "a plucked daisy," and when the queen dances in her red-hot iron shoes, her tongue darts in and out "like a gas jet." The poet's fresh use of language and her evocative metaphors and similes result in vivid images that remain in the reader's mind. The author also uses a series of repetitions. For example, she writes that the dwarves' cottage has "seven beds, seven chairs, seven forks and seven chamber pots." Her use of repetition is meant to mimic the retelling of a fairy tale. 

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sexton, or Anne Gray Harvey, mixes sarcasm and modern-day perspectives with a traditional Grimm's fairy-tale. Harvey's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is saturated with metaphors, similes and references to twentieth-century understanding and pop-culture (like Little Orphan Annie). It is a bit like a twentieth-century chick-fight with a classic flair. Here are some examples of literary elements used in the poem:

"She was full of life as soda pop" - simile

"Pride pumped in her like poison" - simile

The mirror replies.... - Personification

"The stepmother had a mirror to which she referred--

something like the weather forecast" - simile

". . . and the snakes hung down in loops,/ each a noose for her sweet white neck" - metaphor

"The dwarfs, those little hot dogs," - metaphor

". . . wattled like small czars" - simile

For more information on the poem, see the link below. :)


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