Analysis Of Love Is Not All

930 Words 4 Pages
Love Is Not All authored by Edna Vincent St. Millay tells us through a series of metaphors what love is not, what it cannot do, and what is does not provide. However, by discovering the things that love is not, we begin to understand what love might be. Alas, in the very last stanza Millay contemplates the value of love. By observing the year in which she copyrighted the text and comparing the historical context with the metaphors used we can theorize that the author was contemplating the worth of love during a time of war. As you can guess the theme of Love Is Not All is indeed love. The poem was written in the first person using the pronouns I and you. This writing in the first person makes us relate with what the author is feeling. Love …show more content…
Beginning in the first stanza, “Love is not all: it is not meat or drink/Nor slumber nor a roof against a rain;” we notice the listing of the basic physical needs that love cannot provide and being the journey of describing what love is by describing what it is not (1-2). In the third line we see the use of repetitive words rise and sink with the association of the floating spar. Millay is visually providing us with an image of describing love as something that is seen then not seen with the bobbing in and out of water. In essence love doesn’t come and go, or maybe love isn’t seen or felt and all of the sudden not seen or felt. In lines three and four we can grasp the historical context with the imagery given. These three phrases in lines five and six, “Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,/ nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;” are medical conditions that could be consistent with infections, diseases, and injuries seen from a battle or more specific to what had previously occurred prior to 1931, World War I (5-6). In lines seven and eight we see the first use of more than 10 syllables per line. Rhythmically this places an aural emphasis on these two lines. ”Yet many a man is making friends with death/Even as I speak” alludes to the idea that the writer is extracting from a context in which men are dying and the reason for it is given in the next phrase, “for lack of love alone” (7-8) This is indeed a powerful concept that men are not dying from the lack of basic physical needs but from an abstract idea. Love, that which exists in words, thoughts, and minds can cause death. Gathering from the context we can make a stretch and suggest that maybe Millay is suggesting that the reason for war is the absence of love. In lines ten and eleven we hear the alliterative use of the letter “p” in the words, “Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,/ Or nagged by want past

Related Documents

Related Topics