Promote war vs. reality: war is dangerous
Overall thesis for a poetry essay: 3/11/15
WHAT does a poet say and HOW does the poet convey this?
In “The Swimming Lesson,” Mary Oliver uses alliteration and metaphor to show how one has to suffer in order to mature.
BP 1: Oliver uses alliteration to illustrate how growing up often entails undergoing trauma. The speaker specifically struggles with the way adults sometimes teach children. The poem centers on a time when an adult had tried to teach the speaker how to swim. Oliver uses the lines, “not knowing that none of us… ever learned anything,” to show that the adult ultimately failed (lines 8-10). The alliteration of “not knowing… none” may emphasize the adult’s dismissal of the child’s emotional wellbeing (8). In other words, the repetition can represent the adult’s fixation on teaching a skill and getting results by force (by “[tossing her] in line 6) than on guiding the child with “love and grace” (13). The way this child learned this “lesson” can represent the helplessness and resentment that can result when children struggle through life, despite any positive outcomes.