Textuality » 3BSA Interacting

Homework Giulia Papa - textual analysis
by GPapa - (2017-11-22)
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A word is dead

When it is said

Some say


I say

It just begins to live

That day.

  1. Which is the word?
  2. Why is the word dead?
  3. What was the life of the word?

The title creates expectations in the reader because you do not generally use the adjective dead refeared to a word. Dead emplies some thing: was alive befor deaing and therefor the intelligent reader tries to understand the meaning of the adjective “dead” in the title.

The structure of the poem consist of 6 lines arranged into 2 tercets.

The intelligent reader wants to understand why the poet has made such division. In order to understand that the reader must read the poem and understand what it is about.

The first tercet says that when somebody says a word is dead and this is the opinion of “some say”.

In the second tercet the speaking voice changes: somebody called “I” says exactly the opposite: according to that opinion when a word is said it begins to live.

The structure of the poemi is suitable to content because the text expresses 2 different opinions and they are juxtaposed by contrast. Contrasti s therefor the most important device exploited by the pet to make meaning.

First of all the poet uses contrast even in the choice of passive form “it is said” in the first tercet and the active form in the secondo ne. In addition in the first stanza the poet expresses the opinion of common unidentified people.

In the second stanza the opinion is clearly the one of a precise person “I say”. The contrasti s also underlined by the different position of the subjects.

This choice highlights such different ones again.

The semantic choice add to meaning by contrast. suffice it to say that dead is the adjective the riving from to dead which is the opposite of the live. Therefor you can see that the idea of contrast underlining the 2 points of view expressed in the poem is structural and structuring the text.

From the point of view of sound you can see that second tercet does not follow the pattern of the first one.

The second tercet seems to take distance from the structure of the first one as the different position of the subject clearly shows. According to the lyrical “I” words gain life when they are said while “some say” are conviced/belive that words are no longer meaningful when somebody says them.





Discuss the function of the visual lay out in the following message.

  1. Why the poet says many times “water falls”?
  2. Which water the poet is refearing? Waterfall, rain…?
  3. What meens the poet saying "water falls"?

The poet wants to underlining "water falls" repeating that 6 times. The poet writes only the subject and the predicate. This can make a precise idea.
The poet can literally refer to action, referring to a waterfall or rain. But the poet can also refer to a philosophical concept. Water that falls is a water that is always different / flowing. So he/she can refer to a series of moments in time that end and begin.The poet can refer to some thoughts, that as like as water flows/falls, so the thoughts go away.