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A Prayer for My Daughter : literary devices

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A Prayer for My Daughter is a notable literary work by William Butler Yeats. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of A Prayer for My Daughter.

literary devices

A Prayer for My Daughter” by William Butler Yeats is rich in literary devices. It reveals the poem’s depth and impact. Here are some literary devices used in the poem:

Imagery: Yeats mentions vivid imagery throughout the poem to portray his hopes and fears for his daughter. For example, he employs the image of “oceans and the continents” to symbolize the vastness and challenges of the world.

Metaphor: The poem retains metaphors, such as “the heavy changing pinions of the mind”, to convey the weight of intellectual development and growth.

Simile: Yeats mentions similes to make comparisons. He compares his daughter’s “girlish laughter” to a protective shield in the poem. He is conveying that her innocence will safeguard her.

Alliteration: Alliteration, or the repetition of consonant sounds, can be seen in lines like “Man and an image of the Man” and “storm-pale, the night sky.”

Symbolism: The poem contains several symbols, like the “crazed” moon, representing the world’s instability and chaos. The “polecat” embodies corruption and the negative influences Yeats fears for his daughter.

Enjambment: Yeats often employs enjambment, where lines do not end with punctuation and continue into the next line. This makes a flowing and connected rhythm, emphasizing the interconnected nature of the poem’s themes.

Personification: The wind is personified as a hostile force in the lines, “And may the murderer left nothing on the wind.”

Irony: There is an element of irony in the poem, as Yeats is offering a prayer for his daughter’s well-being while communicating concerns about the harshness of the world and the challenges she might face.

Anaphora: Anaphora is a rhetorical device where a word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive clauses. In this poem, “May” is recited at the beginning of many lines to highlight the wishes and prayers for his daughter.

These literary devices assist in creating the emotional impact and complexity of the poem. Yeats expresses his love and concern for his daughter in a highly artistic and provocative manner.