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Without You Analysis

Author: poem of Hermann Hesse Type: poem Views: 8

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My Pillow gazes upon me at night

Empty as a gravestone;

I never thought it would be so bitter

To be alone,

Not to lie down asleep in your hair.

I lie alone in a silent house,

The hanging lamp darkened,

And gently stretch out my hands

To gather in yours,

And softly press my warm mouth

Toward you, and kiss myself, exhausted and weak-

Then suddenly I'm awake

And all around me the cold night grows still.

The star in the window shines clearly-

Where is your blond hair,

Where your sweet mouth?

Now I drink pain in every delight

And poison in every wine;

I never knew it would be so bitter

To be alone,

Alone, without you.

Translated by James Wright

Submitted by Holt


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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“Without You”- Poetry Techniques
‘Without You’ is a morose poem in which the persona describes his feelings of loneliness due to the loss of a companion. The man is overwhelmed by a longing for his partner, who his implied to be dead. He has difficulties sleeping, partly due to the pressing silence, mainly stemming from his yearning to touch the woman he loves. As such, the setting is gloomy and the character; depressed. These are aspects intricately described by Hesse through the use of various poetic techniques that display characteristic moods. Some of these techniques include imagery, paradoxes, similes, personification and questioning and the use of blank verse. Each of these techniques possess traits that best convey certain themes e.g. imagery provides the reader with a direct window to the persona’s feelings through the use of descriptive language that involves several senses, paradoxes can provoke thought in the reader or they can emphasise emotions and questioning highlight/s the persona’s emotions.
Imagery is a versatile yet powerful technique used in many poems, ranging from tones that are bright, lively to tranquil, dulcet or even despondent. Simply defined, imagery is language that engages specific senses, in this case observations by the persona. This allows the reader to better understand the persona’s life and context since all their feelings and senses are conveyed directly.
“I lie alone in a silent house”. The image conjured in the reader’s mind, by this phrase, is one of isolation and deathly silence. The use of imagery describes the mood and tone in much greater detail, allowing the reader to empathise with the setting, which resembles solitary confinement. In a sense, imagery allows the persona’s sensory deprivation to provide more senses to the reader.
“Where is your sweet mouth?” The man’s yearning for his wife is detailed by a simple description of her features. The fact that her mouth is described as sweet shows the reader how bleak the man’s life is.
Other examples of imagery are:
“The hanging lamp darkened”, which highlights the dark and cold atmosphere, “And softly press my warm mouth”, which showcases the cravings felt by the man and “where is your blond hair?”
Hesse also uses paradoxes effectively in this poem. This is a technique where a statement appears to contradict itself but conveys a truth. The confusing nature of a paradox has the effect of adding emphasis to particular emotions. “Now I drink pain in every delight and poison in every wine”. This statement is seemingly illogical, due to the arrangement of opposite ideas in the same sentence, but it does convey a message. The persona finds every aspect of his existence bitter, painful and not worth living. This paradox also highlights the contrast between his previous lively life, with his wife, and his present sad, empty experience without a companion.
Similes are yet another versatile technique, where comparisons are drawn between two ideas or objects. “Empty as a gravestone” is one example from “Without you”. This phrase creates a foreboding environment due to the relative lack of activity and colour as well as the comparison to a figure of death. Metaphors are similar to similes but rather than drawing comparisons between two objects, they give one object the attributes of the other by directly equating them. Metaphors omit phrases such as “as” and “like” and instead use phrases such as “are”.

| Posted on 2012-04-19 | by a guest

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