The function of selected image patterns in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson

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1978

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Abstract

A study of selected image patterns in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson reveals that Robinson employs several images throughout his repertoire to reinforce the themes of his poetry, which are, in turn, influenced by his background and philosophy. To portray life as he saw it, Robinson created various connotative spheres. Because he responded especially to human struggles and suffering, much of his poetry falls into the negative spheres, and the poems that are ultimately optimistic are often so sombre that their optimism is partially submerged. Four such spheres include the spheres of indifference, of death and downfall, of emptiness, and of hope and optimism. To create these spheres, Robinson employs recurring image patterns, four of which include water, trees and flowers, color, and houses. He employs these images in short poems as well as long ones and in early poems as well as later ones. Robinson's treatment of the images varies according to the sphere. An awareness of these recurring images may add to an appreciation and understanding of his poetry and of his philosophy of life.

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Keywords

Robinson, Edwin Arlington,--1869-1935--Criticism and interpretation.

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