Sara Teasdale

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Why does the speaker say that the stars have "Hearts of fire" in "Stars" by Sara Teasdale?

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When the speaker in “Stars” by Sara Teasdale describes the stars as having “hearts of fire," she is using personification—the attribution of human characteristics or behaviors to something that is nonhuman—to exemplify their strength and brilliance. It is not just hearts of fire that these stars contain but “beating/ Hearts of fire/ The Aeons/ Cannot vex or tire.” The beating heart of the star helps the reader feel what the star must feel, namely, that awesome thump and power. By giving humanlike life to the star, the poet helps us better understand and relate to a thing that might otherwise seem too far away and alien.

The poem ends with the speaker’s gratitude at having witnessed the majestic spectacle of the heavens; Teasdale succeeds in making the stars at once very grand and deeply human and personal.

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Sara Teasdale's poem "Stars" describes the speaker's experience of walking up onto a hill one night to examine the blanket of stars dotting the sky above her. This poem--like the vast majority of Teasdale's work--is pretty straightforward and does not contain any complex narrative approach. Rather, she chooses to have the speaker simply describe the scene before her with figurative language. 

The poem opens with the speaker standing on the "dark hill" surrounded by a forest of pines. She then turns her head to look up at the "heaven full of stars" and begins to describe their colors, suggesting that they are "Myriads with beating / Hearts of fire." Teasdale is personifying the stars in this line, giving them the anatomical quality of a human being (a heart) and creating an emotional implication of brightness, passion, and desire (in stating that the hearts are "of fire"). This image alludes to the eternal and expansive quality of the natural world in the face of human "smallness" and mortality. 

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