The Poetry of an America in Transition

English / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
The following essay takes a look at the works of selected American poets, Updike, Ginsberg, Dow and McClanahan, in the last half of the twentieth century.

This paper explores the rhythmic or melodious use of words and language to express ideas and convey emotion. The author examines this type of literary expression focusing on the way in which each successive generation has modified and adapted it to reflect the progressive concepts of changing times. This adaptation has primarily involved the use of a number of literary devices designed to add impact and intensify emotion. This paper makes reference to the works of the following poets: John Updike, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Dow and Rebecca McClanahan.

Table of Contents

John Updike’s Bath After Sailing
Allen Ginsberg’s Is About
Robert Dow’s How Should I Say This
Rebecca McClanahan’s Making Love
John Updike’s Sand Dollar

`Imagery is a literary device that uses symbolism to create mental pictures that develop certain atmospheric elements associated with the topic of the writing. John Updike uses imagery of the sea and sailing throughout Bath After Sailing to create a wave-tossed atmosphere that represents man’s journey through life and his helpless attempts to harness and control this journey. He describes the sea as `the hostile, mobile black that lurched beneath the leeward winch` and presents man in his boat being tossed about on this sea `as helplessly we heeled`, expressions of imagery that suggest this idea (Updike 59). This central idea is reinforced by Updike’s use of simile that notes the resemblance between the `salt less sea` of the bath and the `heartless waves` of the ocean (59).`

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