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Starlight by Philip Levine - Book Report/Review Example

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The speaker, the omniscient narrator, takes the reader into his past, but keeps the focus, until the end, in the present, as shown in:
This denotes the adult in the present, but portrays the experience of both man and boy, father and child, with immediacy. The tone is gentle, pensive and intimate, inviting the reader to participate and become involved in the loving father child relationship. This is evident in how the memories are expressed, recalling past and present emotions:
The poem might be described as a metaphorical representation of the child within the man, the man that child became, and the bonds of a loving relationship that had powerful affect on each, and on those who share that experience. This is alluded to and clarified in these lines:
The poem's rhythms reflect the gentle going and coming of talk and connection between the two, altering pace as the child's thoughts rush forward, toward the inevitable changes of time. Using off rhyme, as in "redder", "riding" and "smell" and "smiles" assonance is present, and consonance occurs with alliteration in:
That line reflects the tenderness and love, as together they explore the meaning of happiness, the intensity of which, the father cannot verbally express. It speeds the rhythm and strength of emotion in repetition, as seen in line 23, and with line 24, this is emphasized:
"And in that new voice he says nothing," (l. 24)
But the language of the poem says a great deal, as words create the memory of a child's fairy tale within the narrative. Here is Little Red Riding Hood,
"the glow of his cigarette, redder
than the summer moon riding
low over the old neighborhood" (l. 5-7)
The imagery in the phrase "I see his head among the stars" (l. 4) and its virtual repetition, when man and child are juxtaposed, in "and now I too am there among the stars" (1. 21) suggests another fairy tale, the good giant who shares his magic realm. There are tactile and visual images throughout, as in "bending", "holding", "blinking eyes" and "starlight". The auditory image in "thick and choked" is ambiguous, when placed in relation to the cigarette, and could mean either physical reality or emotional response. The only explicit colors are red, and white, while the "promises of autumn" implicitly symbolizes the vibrant tones of Fall. The discussion on happiness may be interpreted as a metaphor as to whether the child loved his father and if he was giving they boy what he needed. When the boy finally understood, and the father responded to their shared ...Show more


This essay will evaluate the poem 'Starlight' by Philip Levine, by examining all literary and poetic elements and commenting on their effectiveness in engaging the reader. All aspects will be analyzed, with specific examples used to support the claim that the poem represents universal truth about relationships between fathers and children, and the ways in which these enhance the human and individual experience of life.
Author : jaydon99
Starlight by Philip Levine
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