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Word Count: 756
Voice Language and Imagery in Theodore Roethkes Root Cellar Upon first reading Root Cellar one is inclined to think that Theodore Roethkes feeling of this place are of horror and disgust I on the other hand believe the poem portraits a man who is caught in a state of wondered fascination in a place where life and beauty are abundant While reading the poem the first time through a picture is painted It is that of dark looming place smelly and old The first nine lines are filled with words such as dank dark and manure These words at first glance might be mistaken as pessimistic in tone However the second to final line introduces the word life I believe it is the introduction of this word that changes the tone of the poem from pessimistic to optimistic Why else would the mention of life exist If he hated the place he was speaking of so much one would make the assumption he would stick strictly to the negative aspects of it This optimistic tone is further expressed in the final line Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath 11 This is yet another time in which he focuses on something rather pleasant as apposed to foul and terrible After reading the final lines and then taking the poem in again as a whole one will realize the abundance of living things mentioned in the writing This poem is full of imagery that shows us a richness of life that exists in this place The lines Shoots dangled and drooped 3 and Roots ripe as old bait 6 both create the images of tangled vines and the sense of life surrounding you Even the line And what a congress of stinks- 5 gives the sense that even the air is alive While one might say that the smell created would not be pleasant the fact still remains that this is a place
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