The Secret River & Lady Lazarus

Essay by caseytoughHigh School, 12th gradeB+, September 2014

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In what ways do literary techniques and devices create shades of meaning? Discuss with reference to a Plath poem and The Secret River.

Literary techniques and devices such as metaphor, irony, dialogue and structure can create deeper, hidden ideas creating subtle shades of meaning in the texts Lady Lazarus and The Secret River. The texts are by Sylvia Plath and Kate Grenville respectively. The title of Lady Lazarus creates a theatrical tone which glorifies the idea of suicide. Furthermore, this poem contains the idea of the oppression of women through metaphor of Plath's own feelings of objectification. Similarly, The Secret River contains shades of meaning established through the use of literary techniques and devices. This can be seen in the metaphorical rape of the land, representing the invasion of Australia by European settlers in the early 19th century. A further nuance of meaning that can be established from the text through its circular narrative structure, conveying the idea of the collective guilt and remorse over a dark history, experienced by the nation of Australia.

In the way meanings are conveyed through literary devices and techniques, slight, subtle shades of meaning emerge which would not have emerged without an understanding of literary techniques and devices.

The title of Lady Lazarus creates a theatrical tone for the poem that glorifies the suicide. Plath suffered depression for most of her life, constantly falling in and out of the mental illness. Plath attempted to commit suicide multiple times throughout her life, until she finally succeeded in February 11, 1963. Plath felt her failed suicide attempts were a form of rebirth. The title Lady Lazarus contains alliteration and assonance. This creates a feeling of luxury, confidence and power as the words are elongated. Lazarus is a biblical reference to Lazarus, a man who...