Subject: English, Essay Date: Topic: Analyse 2 Poems Poets toy with ideas and play with words and pour the latent feelings in their hearts in the poems, with fertile imagination. They paint a picture without color and the strokes of brush…
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Diction is poet’s special way to convey the internal fire, the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings that take the form of art and aesthetics to create the magical effects. The poems being analyzed in this essay are “For Malcolm, a Year After,” by Etheridge Knight and “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” by Emily Dickinson. "For Malcolm, A Year After,” (Hill, n. p.) is a popular ballad. He wrote this poem as an inmate at the Indiana State Prison. This poem is a “tribute to Malcolm X.”(Hill, n. p.) He asked the fellow “prisoners about Malcolm X the year after Malcolm’s assassination,” (Hill, n. p.) what was that date. None was able to give the correct answer. An agitated Knight reverted to his barracks and wrote the poem. His angry mood is reflected through the poem. “Because I could not stop for Death,” is a lyric poem by Emily Dickinson, published posthumously in 1890. Compiled and edited by her friends Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The poem was titled, “The Chariot,” initially. It relates to Death. The poet elucidates Death as a noble individual, who rides the carriage with her body to take it to the grave. In effect, the poet personifies immortality. The main points discussed in the poems are two faces of death. One merging with the eternity, another is the tragic termination of the life-force. Emily Dickinson examines Death from a friendly encounter and from the philosophical perspective of immortality, whereas Etheridge Knight reacts to Death with controlled vehemence for the violent end of an ideologue and challenges the causes leading to that tragedy. The literary element discussed in this paper is diction. Poetic diction is the distinctive language employed by the poets that is not common day slang. Diction involves archaism, rhyme, neologisms and figures of speech. Poetic diction is much different from daily speech and they succeed in demanding the attention of the readers. Words are used intelligently by the poets to convey feelings, action and attitudinal issues. The choice of one word to challenge the other is diction. Dickinson does not turn away from mortality and the she challenges Death as if it is a friendly encounter, --Oh, Death, come on, I sport with you! Thus the choice of diction is critical in the delivery of the message of the poem. “For Malcolm, A Year After,” is a political support statement for a black leader who commanded the respect of the poet. He intelligently and deliberately “manipulates metrical tensions and rhyme schemes”,(Hill, n. p.) as he constructs the statement for the slain nationalist leader. He launches the attack with a stinging statement, but holds it well to check the “self-destructive emotional explosion.”(Hill, n. p.) “Control the burst of angry words Or they might boil and break the dam” (L, 3-4) “Rhyme connects the form in the “iamb” (L, 2) and the anger in “dam.” (L, 4) He writes in the language of the white man, but from the bottom of his heart, he rejects it. He detaches himself away from the rhyme in “mad” (L, 5) “The second stanza emphasizes that while Knight uses the Euro-American culture's form, he uses it to advance the political cause of Black Nationalism. Inverting the traditional conceit of the poem living eternally despite the death of the man, Knight writes that his poem, an artifact of the oppressive culture, will die, but its message, the message of Malcolm X, will live.”
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