The poem “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost employs several poetic devices that enhance the meaning and impact of the poem. Some of the main poetic devices used in the poem are:
The poem has an ABAB rhyme scheme, with the second and fourth lines of each stanza rhyming. This gives the poem a sense of structure and formality, which contrasts with the natural and spontaneous image of the dust of snow falling from the hemlock tree.
The poem is rich in visual imagery, particularly in the description of the crow shaking down the dust of snow from the hemlock tree. The image of the snow falling on the poet is also vividly described.
The crow, hemlock tree, dust of snow, and the change in mood are all symbolic in the poem. The crow and hemlock tree represent death and sadness, while the dust of snow symbolises something pure and beautiful that comes unexpectedly into our lives, so, the dust of snow is a symbol of hope and renewal, which helps to save the speaker from a bad day. The change in mood represents a change in perspective and a moment of redemption.
The repetition of the “s” sound in “Shook down on me” creates a soft and gentle rhythm, which contrasts with the harshness of the crow and the hemlock tree.
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The contrast between the dark imagery of the crow and hemlock tree and the pure beauty of the dust of snow creates a powerful contrast that underscores the poem’s themes of hope and redemption.
The synecdoche device used in the poem is the “dust of snow” that falls on the speaker from the hemlock tree. This is a part of the natural world that stands in for the larger experience of the speaker’s mood being lifted as depicted through “Has given my heart A change of mood”. The dust of snow is a small detail that represents the larger idea of a transformative moment. It is an example of how Frost uses everyday objects and experiences to illustrate deeper truths about human nature.
Enjambment is a literary technique where a sentence or clause runs over to the next line without a pause or punctuation mark to create a sense of continuity and to emphasize certain words and phrases.
The whole poem is a good example of this device as only line move on to next lines without any punctuation or pause except at the end.
Example: repetition of ‘h’ in “Has given my heart”; and repetition of ‘s’ in “saved some part”.
The repetition of the “ow” sound in “crow” and “down” creates a sense of emphasis and importance, drawing attention to the action of the crow.
In this poem, the crow and the dust of snow are metaphors for the unexpected moments of beauty and hope that can change our mood and brighten our day.
The metaphor is the crow’s action of shaking down the dust of snow from a hemlock tree, which serves as a catalyst for a change of mood in the speaker. The dust of snow that falls on the speaker represents the small moments of joy and beauty that can unexpectedly come into our lives and lift our spirits, even on the darkest of days. The crow, a common symbol of darkness and foreboding, becomes a source of hope and redemption as it transforms the speaker’s outlook and saves the day from being one that was regrettable. Therefore, the crow’s action serves as a metaphor for the transformative power of nature and the unexpected sources of happiness that can brighten even the gloomiest of days.
The dust of snow is used as a metaphor for a small, seemingly insignificant moment that can have a profound impact on one’s emotional state, and can turn a bad day into a good one.
Also, metaphor is used when the poet compares the mass of snowflakes atop the hemlock tree with dust.
The crow is also a metaphor for the unexpected and often overlooked moments in life that can bring us joy and a sense of renewal.
The personification device used in the poem “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost is the attribution of human qualities to the crow and the hemlock tree.
The crow is personified as having agency in the act of shaking down the dust of snow. The crow is personified when it is described as shaking down the dust of snow onto the speaker. This action suggests that the crow is intentionally trying to help the speaker by changing their mood.
The hemlock tree is also personified when it is described as releasing the dust of snow. The use of the word “from” implies that the hemlock tree is actively participating in the action of shaking the snow, rather than being a passive object.
The personification of these natural objects serves to emphasize the transformative power of nature and how small moments of beauty can have a significant impact on our lives.
Overall, the use of these poetic devices in “Dust of Snow” creates a vivid and memorable image of a moment of beauty and redemption in the midst of sadness and despair.