Symbolism Or Irony

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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The use of symbolism and irony is imperative to this poem. It puts detail in the broad parts of this poem. This essay will explain the uses of both symbolism and irony in Old Ironsides.

The symbolism in Old Ironsides is like mortar. It brings the blocks together to build the structure. The author used comparisons like "The meteor of the ocean air." In this sentence he is talking about the ship. This metaphor is saying the ship is very fast and can hit with a deadly force. This is a very good use of propaganda to persuade people to change their mind about the life of the ship. Another use of symbolism in this poem is when he uses the phrase "eagle of the sea" which also is used to describe the ship. This metaphor has great significance to the United States. It is the bird of our country.

Eagles are one of the most powerful birds of prey. Symbolism in this poem is also used the comparison between the government and a harpies. Harpies are Greek figures that have the body of a bird and a head and legs of a woman. This I find a bit humorous. I believe the government got the idea on how Holmes felt. After all he called them something that would feed off the weak and helpless. As you can see symbolism has a great effect on this poem.

Irony is also used in great ways in this poem. It gives it a bit of a sarcastic twist. Holmes states in the poem that he wants this great piece of history to be "scrapped." This is ironic because he speaks highly of the ship but he wants to scrap it. What he really wants is to...