Persephone Falling By Rita Dove Summary

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Rita Dove, an African American poet, is known in her poems for, “lyricism and beauty” ("Rita Dove." List of Books…). In her poem “Persephone, Falling” she uses the harsh beauty in Greek mythology to describe the kidnapping of Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, by Hades. In many of Dove’s poems she describes the “mother-daughter relations,” this can be found in “Persephone, Falling” as she describes the loss of Demeter’s daughter ("Rita Dove." Poetry). “Persephone, Falling” is a poem warning against isolation and wandering off by oneself. This theme can be found in the analysis of the poem’s title, paraphrasing, allusions, attitude, and shift. Dove uses Persephone’s kidnapping and the pain that Demeter faces to portray to the reader why isolation…show more content…
The first example of allusion that Dove uses is in the title. “Persephone, Falling” is alluding to the kidnapping of Persephone in Greek mythology, as she was dragged into the underworld by Hades when she tried to pick a flower that he was holding onto. This allusion is disapproving of isolation because Persephone “fell” when she wandered off by herself to pick flowers, which created the perfect opportunity for her to “fall”. In the first line of the poem Dove alludes to Narcissus, a hunter in Greek mythology known for his beauty. By calling the flower “narcissus among the ordinary beautiful/ flowers,” the speaker is giving more emphasis to the beauty that the particular flower held. These allusions give more significance to the theme because they point out that even if something is beautiful it can still hold danger, just as the flower that Persephone pulled that led to her kidnapping. The speaker alludes to modern religion when she talks about Persephone disappearing. There is a word for word allusion when the speaker says, “It is finished.” This alludes to what Christ says as he is put on the cross in the Christian beliefs. These allusions strengthen the speaker’s warning against isolation because it gives powerful examples that the readers can…show more content…
In the first stanza the speaker recalls the incident that led to Persephone being taken. Describing the incident as Persephone wandered off alone to pick flowers and was confronted by a man on a “glittering terrible/ carriage [as] he claimed his due.” By using this word choice, the speaker is more capable of showing the harshness of isolation from the experience in which she is describing. As the beginning of the second stanza starts the speaker’s attitude shifts into a warning for the readers. The speaker is speaking more directly to the reader during the second stanza, rather than recollection. The warning is in parenthesis, making it more personal to the reader, as if the speaker is pulling them aside to issue her warning, whereas the first stanza is recollection, regarding the reader’s as a collective audience. The difference in the way the speaker is presenting her warning makes the attitude stand out more to the audience. The two separate attitudes lead to the theme of the poem, because it gives the speaker more power to issue her warning against isolation by recalling a personal

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