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Hersh Patel Poetry Project AP English III When I Am Dead My Dearest Literal and Figural Meaning The poem literally illustrates the speakers reflection upon whether or not he or she and the dearest shall remember one another when the speaker dies Yet figuratively the poem conveys the poets perception of death as a dreamy intermediate existence that compares to twilight Structure and Meaning Christina Rossetti strategically structures her poem When I am dead my dearest to convey her notion of love and death She presents her stanzaic poem through two octaves with the pattern iambic abc4b3deFE3 Even though Rossetti writes six of the sixteen lines in iambic trimeter the abundance of variation throughout the octaves portrays the poem as more of a free verse On average Rossetti uses 67 syllables per line which in a way conveys the sensation of uneasiness and uncertainty that humans feel towards the notion of death since the syllables irregularly vary per line Rossetti employs this method of confusion throughout her poem in order to establish a comparison between the perplexity with which humans view death and the optimism with which Rossetti views it Rossetti in her poem ponders upon death and whether or not her beloved and she may remember each other after she dies In the first stanza Rossetti requests her dearly loved to perform certain actions above her grave once she dies By presenting this image of an ideal ceremony occurring above her grave through the first stanza Rossetti differentiates between underground as being the stage of death and above ground as being the stage of life Each stanza therefore structurally demonstrates this notion of life above and death below as Rossetti places the stanza regarding the ceremonies above the second stanza which enters the realm of unknown where Rossetti offers her view of the afterlife from deep beneath the ground in her grave Rossetti applies the variations in the iambic pattern of this
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