Storm Protection

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 1023 times

"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you."- Aldus Huxley. Just as Huxley understands the importance of properly handling difficult situations, Adrienne Rich, author of Storm Warnings, relays her strengths in times of storms. With a peaceful yet concerned tone, concrete detail, and dramatic organization, Rich draws the readers to a better understanding of themselves during times of both literal and metaphorical storms. Through this passage, Rich allows for the readers to interpret the metaphorical storms as they relate to their own lives.

Throughout the poem, Rich continually uses descriptive, intricate detail to transport the reader to the surreal surroundings of the storm. Rich writes, " The glass has been falling all afternoon" to describe the atmosphere and oncoming emotional storm. The style Rich uses to describe the rain falling suggests to the reader that she intends this storm to be more than literal.

Rich also manages top convey that this " storm" has the ability to destroy. " Weather abroad or weather in the heart alike come on regardless of prediction," ties the literal and physical meanings of the storm together. This descriptive sentence helps move the meaning of the poem from a literal sense to a metaphorical sense for the reader. Rich intentionally does this to " force" them to enter the realm of her storm and eventually be able to understand that they experience personal, internal storms of their own. At the conclusion, Rich states, " as the sky goes black" she lights a candle " sheathed in glass." Here, Rich describes the start of the storm and her physical reaction and preparation. However, her reason for protecting the candle with glass serves to make the reader understand that throughout all storms there will always be one, protected bright location that one may always depend on.

Rich's use of organization in Storm Warnings first draws the reader into the serenity of life, moves into the unexpected reality of a storm, and last informs the reader of how the persona overcomes and shields herself from the literal and emotional storms of life. In the first paragraph, Rich acknowledges the calm storm that stirs around her in order to reinforce her realization that life may appear peaceful at certain times. Through a first person point of view, the reader evaluates his or her own tranquil experiences in life. As the poem continues, Rich recognizes that the storms in life and in reality " come on regardless of prediction." With this observation, the reader begins to expect encounters with troubling times without warning. In the third paragraph, Rich continues to relay that storms arise, but everyone must deal with the hard times in their own way even if that includes such simple precautions as "[closing] the shutters." At this point, Rich leaves interpreting this metaphor up to the reader. This provides the reader with ways to evaluate the way they will choose to maintain sanity during storms. As the poem concludes, Rich addresses " candles sheathed in glass" as a symbolic reference of her means of protection during a storm. Just as Rich shows her strength during rough times, the reader can relate with the candle, as he or she determines whether his sheath comes from physical, spiritual or emotional protection.

Regardless of the storms that come, Rich influences the reader to seek refuge as a way to protect their emotions and physical bodies. Though expressed as both literal and metaphorical, each storm occurs without warning and without signs of ceasing. However, just as Sylvia Plath describes her safety in the Bell Jar and Rich describes her protection by means of a sheathed candle, humans must determine what their bell jar or candle sheath will guard.