To Autumn Questions and Answers
by John Keats

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What are some literary devices in "To Autumn"?

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Eleanora Howe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In "To Autumn," John Keats utilizes many literary devices. However, my personal favorite is his use of personification in relation to the season of autumn. As an example of this device, take a look at the beginning of the second stanza:

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, 
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies... (12-17)
In this stanza, the "thee" that Keats is addressing is actually autumn itself, and he characterizes the season with human attributes, as he "observes" it sitting on the floor in a granary and its hair blowing in the wind. Obviously, autumn cannot sit on the ground, nor does it actually have hair. However, Keats gives the season these human characteristics in order to bring the season to life. Furthermore, by giving the season drowsy and lazy characteristics, Keats also emphasizes the season's close proximity to winter, a season that is often associated with rest and hibernation. Thus, it's easy to see that one of the poem's most extraordinary literary devices is personification, as it skillfully describes autumn in a fashion few authors have been able to replicate. 

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