Stevie Smith once commented that the people in her poems do not feel at home in this world. With reference to three poems, discuss this aspect of Smith's poetry.

Essay by daniiHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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Poetry is seen to be one of the most sentimental and personal pieces of literature a person can write and they often do so to soothe any real-life problems they face out side of the literary world. Stevie Smith's characters in her poems often exhibit a lack of acceptance, but it is interesting to notice that each characters varies in terms of this sentiment. Some characters long for the acceptance of the outside world and others seem to find comfort in a world of isolation.

"The Recluse" is a poem of isolation. However, in Smith's poetry, her characters who feel they do not belong are not necessarily unhappy, such as the character in this poem. She has a habitual tendency to depression and sadness, but she demonstrates that she enjoys her miserable state of being. The language Smith uses emphasizes the misery by the imagery of a rotting soul.

Nouns such as "fungoid" contributes to such an unpleasant image, for it is as if her soul is ill with a fungus and dying as the world "blight" suggests. This imagery is extended with the idea of how some fungi glow when they are rotting, with a "bright white light". This internal rhyming of one syllable words emphasis the alliteration of the "t" sounds, thus emphasizing the negativity of the light, for usually light is associated with positive things. In fact, the read does not quite know that the character in the poem is content in her state of misery until the reader reads the word "fruitful", stressing the fact that she is perfectly happy in her depressive mood. This is also re-iterated by the juxtaposition of ideas in the two-word phrase Smith uses to summarize the way her character lives her life: in a state of "delicious...