Edna Millay Essay Research Paper Edna St

Edna Millay Essay, Research Paper

Edna St. Vincent Millay defied the times in which a woman was to operate, in her

life style, and in her poems, "Renascence", "My candle burns at

both ends", and "I forgot in Camelot, the man I loved in Rome."

She was one of the best known poets of the 1900’s. Her poems were said to be

delicate but outspoken (World book 1968). While in school in addition to being

an exceptional student her teachers also considered her to be a particularly bad

student, because teachers would give lectures and she would interrupt asking

acute questions. Overall, Millay was a very odd lady for her time (Gurko 59).

This was because she was a "free woman", which was a symbolic figure

in the late 18 and early 19 hundreds (American Writers 123). "Taking

advantage of this liberated atmosphere, Millay became one of its leading voices,

she wrote saucy and slightly scandalous lyrics in a style that occasionally

evoked Elizabethan verse (Anderson 665)." Millay received awards and honors

in the twenties, thirties, and forties. Her reputation was over after her death

by interest in poetic modernism, which emphasized formal experimentation and

innovation. Even former acolytes, such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath said

"Edna Millay is so old fashioned, the lord should’ve made her a man

(Davidson 542)." Millay has endured and has been advanced recently by

critics interested in the style of her traditional poetic forms (Davidson 541).

Her poetry was very standard and showed evidence of critical concentration to

rhyme and established metrical patterns. The poem "Renascence"

re-established Millay’s individual identity through her willingness to accept

her own limitations and to be bound to the world surrounding her (World book

1968). In this poem, Millay scans the grounds within her view. She sees three

mountains and woods surrounding her. Turning, she sees three islands. Having

made a full circle, she, in a sense of being exhausted sees the scope of her

perception, and has organized the limitations she is prepared for the

self-induced trance which will take her to the limits with nature (Davidson

524). She showed this in the first few lines of "Renascence" when she

wrote: All I could see from where I stood, Was three long mountains and a wood:

I turned and looked another way, And saw three islands in a bay (Rollens 692).

When Anne Sexton read this poem she was certain it was written by a man because

of Millay’s wording style. The poem has an abab rhyme pattern, and is a lyrical

poem. "My candle burns at both ends" is a brief poem by Millay that

has an autobiographical image of herself. The daring and independent lines

reflect the charm and energy of Millay. The poem reflects an optimistic outlook

and a pessimistic outlook, imagination and aggressiveness, a gentle spirit and a

harsh spirit. This poem makes vivid intensity of her living: My candle burns at

both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends- It

gives a lovely light! (Millay 792) Mary Kinzal, a known critic said that

Millay’s poems and dreams were "To live fully, alertly, and originally (Gurko

61)." This poem like many others of Millay’s has an abab rhyme pattern and

is lyrical. In Millay’s " I forgot in Camelot the man I loved in Rome"

is a poem Millay wrote that had a spirit of liberation and independence. The

poem conveys the spirit and the theme of Millay’s early poetry. Millay wrote the

poem after her escape from serious, permanent commitments because she decided to

be an independent woman with all the freedoms she wanted. While writing this

poem Millay decided to move from where she was living to regain her freedom and

stability again and to move herself from the man she had fallen in love with.

She expresses her feelings in this abcdc rhymed poem by saying: There must be a

place for me, To think no more of you, I am going far from home, For I forgot in

Camelot, The man I loved in Rome (Rollens 329). As a result, from Edna St.

Vincent Millay’s poems she did in fact defy the times in which a woman was to

operate, in her life style, and in her poems. She showed in her lifestyle, her

longing to be independent, and in her poems such as "Renascence",

"My candle burns at both ends", and "I forgot in Camelot the man

I loved in Rome" she displayed how she felt.


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