How does D. H. Lawrence utilize diction and punctuation in “Bat”?

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D. H. Lawrence uses diction and punctuation in “Bat” to create juxtaposition and build suspense for the arrival of the scary and spirited bats.

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In “Bat,” D. H. Lawrence uses diction and punctuation to spotlight the surprising, unpleasant appearance of the bats. The diction and punctuation create contrast and suspense for the inevitable entrance of the creature that is named in the title.

At first, the diction is calm and ornamental. Lawrence’s choice of words produces a Romantic set of images built on nature and light. The repetition of “when” alerts the reader that these traditionally poetic moments won’t last. The when and the ellipses give the reader a feeling that the relaxing moments could suddenly disappear any second.

Sure enough, following the third ellipsis, Lawrence implores the reader to “look up.” Now, the diction turns from languorous to frantic. The arrival of the swallows/bats compels Lawrence to switch to action words. The shock and dismay engendered by the bats are reinforced by the punctuation. The word bats is accompanied by an exclamation mark on three separate occasions. The punctuation seems to equate bats with something dramatically horrible.

The emergence of the bats also allows Lawrence to be a bit playful with his diction. He can drop the long, lofty lines that occur at the start of the poem and have some fun. Perhaps the touch of alliteration (a “twitch, a twitter”) and the sprinkling of rhymes are used by Lawrence to inject the poem with lighthearted, childlike energy, which might connect to the symbolism of the bats.

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