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Love Is Not All Analysis



Author: Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay Type: Poetry Views: 3248

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Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink

Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;Nor yet a floating spar to men that sinkAnd rise and sink and rise and sink again;Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;Yet many a man is making friends with deathEven as I speak, for lack of love alone.It well may be that in a difficult hour,Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,Or nagged by want past resolution's power,I might be driven to sell your love for peace,Or trade the memory of this night for food.It well may be. I do not think I would.





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

.: :.

There is an old saying in Thailand that my grandmother still repeats to us. Translations from Thai to English are usually difficult and loosely accurate, but this is an exception to the rule. In English it means "You can't eat Love" and it has a lot to do with parents advice and arranged marriage. In the first half, the speaker acknowledges that you can't 'eat love' and can live without it. In the second half, the speaker declares that she does not prize life without love.

| Posted on 2014-04-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem truly shows how pure and real love is that without love you have nothing. The poet would not trade love for world peace or even the very food that sustains her body because without love you have nothing but life and living with no love is as useless as a fractured bone.. She twists her poem ironically by making you think love is nothing when really at the end she understatemently says love is everything...

| Posted on 2012-01-11 | by a guest


.: :.

Love may seem like an irrational, foolish notion that cannot save one in a time of need, yet it can also give one incomparable hope and strength in times of desperation.

| Posted on 2011-10-30 | by a guest


.: :.

Love is not an object that can save us from disaster, but is in those disasters where we find love, and the feeling of it wouldn’t make us change it for anything.

| Posted on 2011-01-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Love is not an object that can save us from disaster, but is in those disasters where we find love, and the feeling of it wouldn’t make us change it for anything.

| Posted on 2011-01-19 | by a guest


.: :.

\"Love is not all,\" it is not everything. It has no material presence to sustain a body. But, if the soul lacks it, there is only the abyss.

| Posted on 2010-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Millard states that this \"Love Is not ALL\", and expresses through her point of view. She demonstrates her pain through by discussing the sinking and rising of her heartache. This is sort of like a roller-coaster, so perhaps she was depressed from a former love. Furthermore, Millard points out that \"it cannot fill the lung with breath\". This must mean that she believes that Love is useless, and is unhappy.

| Posted on 2010-10-08 | by a guest


.: :.

Millard states that this \"Love Is not ALL\", and expresses through her point of view. She demonstrates her pain through by discussing the sinking and rising of her heartache. This is sort of like a roller-coaster, so perhaps she was depressed from a former love. Furthermore, Millard points out that \"it cannot fill the lung with breath\". This must mean that she believes that Love is useless, and is unhappy.

| Posted on 2010-10-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I feel as if Millay is explaining heartache in a metaphorical line, \"nor yet a floating spar to men that sink and rise and sink and rise and sink again\"...or perhaps throughout the entire poem. When I first read this sonnet, I assumed the memory was taking place presently, on \"this night\". I have found that the speaker refuses to give up a past memory, refuses to surrender even with the torture of heartache that they feel. The torture of (in the pattern of the sonnet); hunger, thirst, insomnia. When heartbroken, constant \"rain\". we feel as if we\'re drowning and cannot breath- wounded, broken, sometimes dead.... still we cannot get over and give up the memories for a chance of happiness. The speaker stays stubborn even though they are suffering. --there is some sort of hope at the end of the sonnet that they will be smart and get over it, yet still, they don\'t see it happening.
-JennyD

| Posted on 2010-09-14 | by a guest


.: :.

I have loved this poem ever since studying it in college some fifty years ago under Professor Ann Miller, a wounderful teacher and person. It helped that I was very in love with the woman I have been married to for forty-five years. What I remember of the class discussion was that poetry uses the technique of indirection to make its impact. By beginning with the statement "Love is not all and then moving on to telling what it is not, Millay sets the stage for a powerful assertion that love IS all, and a poignant illumination of its nature.

| Posted on 2010-04-07 | by a guest


.: :.

The line that talks about the rising and sinking brings an image of a ripple in the water. Perhaps she was saying something about love on a level of humanity. Men are dying everyday due to lack of peace from wars, from lack of food from poverty. Maybe we need to make personal sacrifices to for the greater love for humanity. Maybe our little effect will have a ripple effect in society. But it is too much a sacrifice for an individual.

| Posted on 2010-01-23 | by a guest


.: :.

In this poem she begins with saying how puny love is. And that it doesn't give us our daily bread. She explains it in a way that she tries to compare love to physical things such as a roof that protects one from the rain. And how in reallity we don't really need it. Then she states how men kill themselves for that impossible love. What I like the most of this poem is how after she said all those things about love and we don't need it she clarifies how she wouldn't traied her love towards her man for nothing. I think that was really clever and ingeneous LOL

| Posted on 2009-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is great in explaining how love works...it explains that it isn't the air we need to breathe but we still need it to survive because without love there would be chaos

| Posted on 2009-09-10 | by a guest


.: :.

Edna Millay deftly orders her quatrains in such a way that she moves from a universal statement about love, to a general statement and finally homes in on the particular (herself), she presents a philosophical of loves which you can not live with it and you can't live without it. An extremely deep and though-provoking but also personal view on love.

| Posted on 2009-04-23 | by a guest


.: :.

love doesn't do anything in our lives but our lives r nothin w/o it too.
:)

| Posted on 2009-02-08 | by a guest


.: :.

The way this poem presents love is kind of ironic and contradictory. The author states that love is the greatest feeling of all, but later on she contradicts herself by telling there are other important things in life. She also states that love must be present in every humans being's life. In one way or another,love influences everything we do. It does not matter if it is puppy love, true love, brotherly love or even unriquieted love; having this feeling will give a human being the extra motivation he or she needs. When feeling in love one feels capable of performing any task and overcoming any obstacle. Because of this, the author is righ in saying that although love is not the most important element in our lives, it guides us through our journey called life.
Carli-the latin lover

| Posted on 2008-12-06 | by a guest


.: review. :.

More simply explained, Although love doesnt supply us of any of the necessesities to survive and doesnt even make sense, we still wouldnt change the feeling for the world.

| Posted on 2008-06-09 | by a guest


.: ashley cousins :.

ashley cousins, is an epidumbass who goes to three oaks senior high, in summerside, pei, canada, north ameriaa, earth.

| Posted on 2008-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

When a person first reads the title to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Love is Not All: It Is Not Meat nor Drink,” they would most likely get the impression that Millay harbors bitter feelings towards the idea of love. This first impression, though, is not the product of a mistake; the imagery created by these words was purposefully designed to suggest that love is unimportant. The author cleverly uses this title to ask her readers a valid question: how can love be “all” if it cannot supply us with even the most basic of sustenance? Creating a question out of what seems to be a statement within the title allows the reader to foreshadow the author’s intended message. Therefore, when looked at in this point of view, it starts to make sense that even though the title asserts that “Love Is Not All,” during the unfolding of the poem we find the ironic truth that love is “all.” However, the ironic fashion that this message is revealed in demonstrates that the message of “love is all” conflicts with the common thought that life is “all,” producing a poem that is wonderfully complicated within its intricacies.
Edna Millay did not intend to confuse readers by using a title that so brashly disregards love, but actually designed the title for an opportunity to establish grounds for her argument that love is “all.” This is evident because the title sets the precedent for the first six lines of the poem as they follow in similar fashion, highlighting the inadequacy of love when juxtaposed with the basic necessities for life. Millay, in an almost systematic fashion, catalogs all the things we need to survive that love cannot replace:
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; (1-6)
Starting at line 1 and moving onward through 6, we see that Millay effectively covers everything humans require to live. By doing this, she also effectively shows what love cannot do: Love cannot fill our belly with food, as represented by “meat” (1); it cannot hydrate us, as illustrated by “drink” (1); love does not rejuvenate the worn out man, as signified by “slumber” (2); it does not offer shelter or “a roof against the rain” (2); love cannot offer a man in peril a life-preserving “floating spar” (3); it cannot give us the air we need to fill our “thickened lung[s]” (5); love cannot rid our body of illness or “clean [our] blood” (6); and it cannot heal a wound or “set the fractured bone” (6). Love, as described by Millay, seems almost as if it is worth nothing. Yet, for all the things that love cannot do, the author insists that we still need love to live, as evident by the following line: “Yet many a man is making friends with death / Even as I speak, for lack of love alone” (7-8). It important to note that the buildup of what love cannot do is necessary for the dramatic declaration that we need love regardless of how useless it may seem. This is a cleaver ploy by Millay because although she has effectively shown how worthless love is on a physical level, she has also effectively constructed what is known as a “straw man” argument. A “straw man” argument occurs when “when someone ignores an opponent’s actual position and presents in its place a distorted, oversimplified, or misrepresented version… [which] is more

| Posted on 2008-01-31 | by a guest


.: :.

loved this poem because it shows how it feels to be in love...you can see that love is worthless to many peoples ideals yet people strive to have love and would give anything to have it...Even she must admit that she would not trade her love for anything...what I get from this poem is that she is learning the importance of love...in the beginning of the poem she doesn't understand...then in the middle she sees others give their life for love and this puzzles her still...yet finally in the end she comes to the realization that love is a worth more then any object in the world

| Posted on 2005-03-07 | by Approved Guest


.: Love is all :.

In the sonnet, “Love is not all”, by Vincent Millay, I detected a skeptical feeling of the poet’s perception of love – caught between reality and the unexplainable draw we have to it.

No one can be truly happy or be in harmony with the universe unless there is some form of love in life; whether this is the love of a dog, the love of a sibling, the love for a science or the love for god, we, as men, strive to find love in an otherwise fruitless existence. This ‘unexplainable’ phenomenon seems to advocate the author’s skepticism towards love. ‘Why are we so caught up in thoughts of it?’ piques the poet’s curiosity as she tries to rationalize this, almost, religious devotion we have for love. “[love] is nor meat nor drink; Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor a floating spar” nor any of the physical needs of a man. But why than do we “trade” our physical needs even in our “difficult hours” for love?. Why would we trade the physical for the perceptual? These questions seem to plague the writer throughout the poem and are in the end not answered. Though the speaker could not compare love to anything tangible, she as well could not deny its existence in our society. It is undeniable that there is an invisible force that drives human brings to do what logic would dictate as irrational. This force labeled love.

The love described in this poem is ultimately that that drives the human soul; the love that without would cause our existence to collapse. Though this kind of love may not be apparent to some of us, it IS there. This love is not isolated to just a person of the opposite gender, but rather is extend to brotherly love, motherly love, the love for a dog, or the love for god. Even in my early days in age, I would have at anytime put my physical needs aside or put my life on the line for my brothers, my parents, or for my lovely dog, Jayko.

| Posted on 2005-02-24 | by Approved Guest




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