“The Writer” – Analysis

Blog: Just a free reflection this time: what do you think is the message of the poem? Why?

I really like this poem because of the way it portrays its message through the use of similes and metaphors. The first metaphor is comparing the girl’s life to the sea. The first line uses the word, “prow”, and on the second line, the speaker says “the windows are tossed with linden”, both relating to situation to a journey at sea. The linden being the ocean and its waves. On the sixth line, the speaker uses a simile, comparing the girl typing to “a chain hauled over a gunwale.” Throughout this poem, the girl’s life is used metaphorically with the sea. She often pauses, connoting the struggles she faces in writing her story, but even more to represent the obstacles in life. Her father wishes her a “lucky passage”, also relating to a ships journey, hoping she will do well. The journey in this case is the girl’s life and how her father can get the ship to start, but the girl has to guide and steer it. This idea is portrayed in the majority of the second half of the poem, when a starling was trapped in the same room the girl is typing in. Her father watched and waited for it to find the open window, careful of not frightening it. This is a similar situation to the idea of opening the door for the daughter. Finally, on lines 26-30, the bird gathers its brains to find the open window and escape the room, and “Clearing the sill of the world.” The father wants his daughter, the writer, to face the world.

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