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Word Count: 848
In Life is Fine Langston Hughes correlates parallelism and contradiction in formal syntactical and tonal shifts that when combined with narrative elements illustrate ambiguity and indecision in individual perspectives of sorrowThe structure of Hughes poem greatly affects the sound and content of the piece by knitting the content to the form The poem consists of six quatrains written mostly in iambic trimeter divided by three tercets one following each pair of quatrains This evenly splits the poem into a logical structure that allows the first two-thirds of the poem to maintain a large degree of parallelism For example in the first stanza the speaker saysI went down to the riverI set down on the bankI tried to think but couldntSo I jumped in and sank Hughes 1-4A similar structure is also used in the fourth stanzaI took the elevator Sixteen floors above the groundI thought about my babyAnd thought I would jump down 12-15It is pertinent to note that these two stanzas share more than offering two different ways to commit suicide the first and third lines of each stanza though they do not rhyme have feminine endings while the second and fourth lines do indeed rhyme which creates a rhythmic and auditory unity throughout each stanza Moreover they share an abcb rhyme scheme that is maintained through the poems other four quatrains as wellThe second and fifth stanzas have various formal and syntactical similarities as well They both illustrate the speakers failure at taking his own lifeI came up once and holleredI came up twice and criedIf that water hadnt a-been so coldI mightve sunk and diedI stood there and I holleredI stood there and I criedIf it hadnt a-been so highI mightve jumped and died 5-816-19Unlike the first and fourth stanzas only the first line of each of these stanzas contains a feminine ending switching instead to masculine endings that serve to impede the thought that the speaker could have succeeded at taking
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