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Example research essay topic: Stanza Donne Writes Care Less Eyes Lips Love - 732 words

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Simile and Metaphor in John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" Valediction: a farewell address forbidding his wife to mourn, strikes me as an extraordinot nary title for this poem. Donne's title has an implied meaning that contradicts how this poem leads the reader to believe it's a love poem he writes to his wife before leaving on a journey to France. A love so strong, so pure, that the bond could never possibly be broken, even after death. Two souls who will always be together physically and spiritually. Donne's use of simile and metaphor enhances the reader's perspective to see one thing, but come to conclusions of something else. In the first stanza, Donne writes "virtuous men who pass mildly away, " he speaks of the death of great men.

Putting himself into that personification of the relationship between him and his wife, he could possibly be speaking in the text, as if he is some kind of God over her. He is obviously on a journey to France and has to leave her behind, but doesn't allow her to mourn best cause he perceives himself as some kind of gentleman of eminence. Her mourning could taint him in front of their friends, or possibly show some kind of weakness. On the other hand, Donne's tone changes in the poem to show sincerity and love for his wife. The relationship between him and his wife is a metaphor to gold (a pure element which cannot be separated by any means). "A breach, but an expansion / Like gold to airy thinness beat" is a simile for how far love can be stretched, just like gold can be hammered so thinly to go such a long distance. But this poem talks of death, and upon that death, can love be stretched so thinly to cross over into the afterlife?

Donne leads me to believe his love for his wife is so pure, so refined, and he so noble, that his love for her will never die, even after death. "The breath goes now, and some say no: " (4). This could possibly be a hidden denotation conceived for his wife if he should not return from his journey. In the fourth stanza, Donne writes, " (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit / Absence, best cause it doth remove / Those things which elements it." Donne could be using the metaphor, 'out of sight, out of mind. ' Is Donne so sure that their love will prevail while he is away? "Inner-assured of the mind, / Care less eyes, lips, and hands to miss" (20). Love can survive most any circumstances, including earthquakes and trepidation of the spheres, but can it survive death? Especially a love so deeply invigorate that Donne refers to their love as stiff twin common passes.

At this point in the poem, Donne changes his tone to refer to this stanza, (7) as past tense. "If they be two, they are two so" (25). It's as if he is no longer referring to him and his wife, but possibly their souls. Maybe it's a simile to life after death. There is also ambivalence in this poem that reveals just how true Donne cogitates his love is for his wife. "Care less eyes, lips, and hands to miss" (20), but in stanza 8, he writes "It leans and harken's after it" (31).

If Donne is so assured of their correlative love that neither one could care less to miss the eyes, hands, and lips, why would the other harken after it? Donne could be apprehensive that if he was to journey too far away, maybe even die, that his wife would do the same. Forbidding her to mourn may be the key to heartening himself that she keep a fixed foot until he comes back, unless he should die. Donne's metaphor of twin compasses that stands for a perfect love that will bring him back to the starting point of his journey, "And make me start where I begun" (36). But if he should die on his journey, will his wife complete the circle by taking her own life? "Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show / To move, but doth if the other do" (27 - 28). This could be the implied meaning behind the title of this poem showing Donne's simile of love to life and after death.


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