What are examples of personification and simile in Sonnet 43 and "Remembrance"?

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In Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 43" she writes, "I love thee freely, as men strive for right." This is a simile because she compares the freedom of her love for the addressee with the natural human impulse to "strive for right." The speaker loves her loved one freely, without restriction or compromise, and this love is as natural and commendable as the human impulse to follow one's conscience.

Browning also includes another simile with, "I love thee with the passion put to use / In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith." In this simile, the speaker compares the passion of her love with the energy she used to put into her old enmities and her old grievances, and also with the innocence and purity associated with childhood. Her love is thus something at once energetic and innocent, determined and pure.

In the second and third lines of her sonnet, Browning also personifies her soul when she writes, "My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of being and ideal grace." In this example of personification, the speaker portrays her soul as a human figure reaching outwards and feeling in the darkness for "being" and "grace." As with any instance of personification, this example makes it easier for the reader to empathize with the speaker's emotions, because we know what it is like to reach and feel around for something in the dark. This instance of personification suggests that perhaps the speaker's love is such that it encourages her to explore her own boundaries of "being." It is a love which is at once a state of self-discovery.

In the first stanza of Emily Brontë's "Remembrance," there is the personification of "Time," who has "Severed" the speaker from her loved one. The image is perhaps that of the Grim Reaper with his scythe (his "all-severing wave"), cutting through the bond that once connected the two lovers. The suggestion here is, perhaps, that a lot of time has passed since the speaker's loved one died, and that the speaker is anxious that she is losing hold of the love they shared before the loved one died. This interpretation seems to be confirmed later in the poem by the references to the loved one's death, most notably with the line, "All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee."

In stanza six of "Remembrance," there is also the personification of "Despair," who the speaker says is "powerless to destroy." Nonetheless, despite the speaker's assertion that "Despair" has no power over her any longer, the fact that "Despair" and "Time" are both personified suggests that both stalk the speaker through her life after her loved one has died. "Time" is responsible for separating the speaker from her lover more and more with each passing day, and "Despair," though powerless, is still a lingering presence regardless.

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 contains two similes, and Emily Bronte's "Remembrance" contains personification. In Browning's poem, she compares the way she loves Robert Browning to the way "men strive for right." She believes that her love for him is a chosen pursuit, worthy of sacrifice and worthy of praise. She also compares her love to the way men "turn from praise." Those who don't lap up the praise they receive show that their deeds are done for pure motives, not to win the acclaim of an audience. These two lines are similes because they create comparisons by using the word "as."

In "Remembrance," two examples of personification are evident. In the line "And even Despair was powerless to destroy," the word "Despair" is capitalized, indicating Bronte means to personify it. Although one might think that despair, as an emotion, has the power to destroy, and so this need not be personification, by capitalizing the word Bronte intends to give it more force, making the emotion a thinking, breathing villain intent on ruining the speaker's life. The other personification is also unusual: "Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine." One might think that a soul cannot be personified because it is already human, or part of a human. Yet a soul is an intangible part of a person, and in this line, Bronte makes it as tangible as a human infant who must be weaned from nursing at his or her mother's breast, thereby personifying it.

Browning's sonnet contains no personification, and Bronte's poem contains no similes, but between the two poems, one can find two examples of each.

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Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 is the famous "How Do I Love Thee?" poem. She uses several literary devices in this sonnet, including rhythm, meter, and alliteration. As for personification (attributing human characteristics to an inanimate object) and simile (a comparison using the word "like" or "as"), I can find no examples in this poem. You might count lines 7 and 8, where she compares her love to men who strive for Right and those who turn from Praise, as similes:

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

However, that seems like a stretch to me.

The same is true of "Remembrance," by Emily Bronte. There is a definite rhyme scheme (ABAB), loads of imagery, and other literary devices. However, there is neither personification nor simile in this poem.

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