What poetic devices are used in the poem "Taught me Purple" by Evelyn Tooley Hunt?   

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The poetic devices that are used in the poem "Taught me Purple" by Evelyn Tooley Hunt include:


This poem is divided into three stanzas of four lines each. A stanza is a unit or a grouping of lines. A stanza typically focuses on making one point or observation. The poem then moves on to another stanza, which in turn focuses on making another point or observation.

In ‘Taught me Purple”, the poet talks of her mother teaching her purple in stanza 1; of her mother teaching her golden in stanza 2; and of her mother reaching for beauty in stanza 3. Three different points and observations here.


Evelyn Tooley Hunt employs rhyme in this poem. The rhyme scheme is abab in stanza 1; cdcd in stanza 2; and efef in stanza 3. Essentially, in each stanza, line 1 rhymes with line 3 and line 2 rhymes with line 4.


The poet uses contrast to make a point about her mother’s existence. She says that her mother “taught me purple” but that her mother’s way of life was “wash-grey”. This is a contrast of the richness of the color purple with the drab and dreary color of wash-grey – talking here of her mother constantly doing the mundane daily task of the family’s laundry.


The poet’s tone here is one of love and respect for her mother for teaching her to reach for a better life than the mother had. To reach for the purple, the gold, and the beauty in life – the finer things in life. The mother taught her not to be full of pride or arrogance but to be modest and look for the loveliness in life.

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