Edna St.Vincent Millay uses repetition and alliteration to convey the emotional force of the poem. The narrator symbolizes the way in which intelligent women of the time were often patronized and belittled by men. In this particular case, it is the narrator's lover who finds it so shocking that a woman should bother her pretty little head with something so decidedly unfeminine as a book.
In relation to the poem's structure, Millay has chosen to use the Shakespearean sonnet form. This consists of fourteen lines of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end. The three quatrains set out the problem of the poem, and the rhyming couplet attempts some sort of answer or resolution. In using the sonnet form, Millay is subtly subverting the form in order to express her unique viewpoint on the relations between men and women.
Now let us examine the poem in more detail, paying close attention to Millay's use of repetition and alliteration.
"Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!"
Here we see the...
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