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Diction in some Canadian poems

As a consequence of the dissimilar backgrounds of the 3 poets we have studied, we discern differences in the diction found on the poems: “The Shark”, “Heirloom”, and “Green Rain”.

It is far too pristine that maritime life was relevant for E.J. Pratt as his poem “The Shark” demonstrates, consequently, we find references to the sea throughout his poem written with short lyrics: “His fin”, “So leisurely he swam”, “With its base-line on the water”, “And snapped at a flat-fish” “With that three-cornered fin. Shearing without a bubble the water”, “he swam that strange fish”.

By contrast, A. M. Klein shows his Jewish heritage and identity on the poem “Heirloom” with expressions such as: “Only some holy books with yahrzeit dates”, “Books of the Baal Shem Tov, and of his wonders”, “And sundry other tomes for a good Jew”, “The Virgin floating on a scriptural wave”, “My noble lineage, my proud ancestry”, “A white hair fallen from my father´s beard”.

On the other hand, Dorothy Livesay records a private experience with clarity expressing observations about everyday life on her poem “Green Rain” as one might see: “I remember the road”, “Geraniums, a trilling canary”, “And the silence, full of the rain´s falling”, “I was thinking only of my love”, “As I remember my grandmother I remember the rain as the feathering fringe of her shawl”.

Whilst Dorothy Livesay uses the word “remember” 6 times and “Green” 5 times, A.M Klein uses two Jewish words: “yahrzeit” and “Baal Shem Tov”. Lastly, E. J Pratt uses 7 times the word “and” with multiple references to the sea using the word “swam” two times.

What we can infer and what we should conclude from these 3 poems is the final climax on the poem “The Shark”: “part vulture, part wolf, part neither for his blood was cold”. Meanwhile, A. M Klein combines simple and colloquial words: “no wide states”, “the devil and his crew”, “demons, witches, thunders”, “For a good Jew” with esoteric and erudite words: “letters twinkling in the Zodiac”, “the tallow stains of midnight liturgy”, “Reading in these treatises”. Finally, Dorothy Livesay uses a direct impact of the image with clarity: “long veils of green rain”, “Green from the half-green”, “A warm house, with green carpets”, “And the silence full of the rain´s falling”.

There being no final remarks, this is what I can convey regarding diction and the poems: “The Shark”, “Heirloom” and “Green Rain”.

WARNING: This is a piece of writing I have done for my University degree. The name of the subject is: Canadian Literature in English.

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  1. I read the post carefully. I’m not familiar with their work. If I have to choose I will prefer Dorothy Livers because it uses the direct impact of the image with clarity. I do not know where you are, so I give you the biggest mark in Spain that is valid for schools. And she’s 10.

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