Bells For John Whiteside's Daughter

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As stated by Marcus Tullius Cicero, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Grief is a normal reaction to death and people have varying ways to express their grief. In the poem, “Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter”, uses diction, imagery, and juxtaposition to reveal the speaker’s unrest towards the death of the young child. Ransom’s choice of words ensures that the reader is simply examining the girl from arm's reach, but never truly knowing her intimately. In the poem, the speaker never directly states that the girl is dead; instead, the speaker uses euphemisms to gloss over the truth. The fact that the little girl is “lying [in] her brown study” instead of a casket or coffin is an example of this (Line 19,20). When the speaker chooses to say “brown study” instead of casket they are putting a hold on the girl’s death and not fully grasping the idea that she is no longer present. Also, the term “brown study” can have two definitions: a casket or a neutral expression. In…show more content…
A little girl with “such speed in her little body” and “lightness in her footfall” (Line 1,2). As the poem progresses the reader is given an amusing vivid image of this little girl playing with the geese making them “rise from their noon apple-dreams” (Line 14, 15). This image emphasizes the light mood created with the poem’s diction. Then just as soon as it came the comical image is replaced with an image of death. Throughout the poem, the speaker is constantly jumping back and forth from life to death. The reader is introduced with the idea of a “tireless” girl to realize she is “lying...primly propped” (Line 20). With this use of juxtaposition, the reader gets a chance to see the speaker go through the stages of grief when they reminisce about her life. The speaker gives a better understanding of how deeply affected the adults are with the great contrast between life and

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