Literary analysis of Sonnet in Primary Colors  Theme of Sonnet in Primary Colors  What is the value of this poem  Plus any other information …………….


Literary Analysis

The sonnet ‘Rita Dove –Sonnet in Primary Colors’ the persona who happens to be a man, is describing a woman by the name Frida who is lovely in stern petticoats. The persona uses similes and imagery to describe the woman who is mourning the death of her beloved dead. The persona says (Nist 1)

“….like children…”

“….erect among parrots…”

The woman stands out among the peasants from her paintings which make her appear to be more beautiful than the rest of the peasants. From the lines:

“…who painted herself…corset…”

It clearly indicates that she had worn pieces of clothing that were beautiful but looked more natural.  The beauty portrayed by the persona is beyond a reasonable doubt that he highly adored the woman though she was in much pain of losing a beloved one. In this case the woman might have a lost her husband, child or a close relative or friend.

The theme of the sonnet

The sonnet has the theme of adoration of Frida-the woman who has beautified herself with nice paintings that makes her stand out among other peasants. The poem has an appreciation for women’s looks. Those women are supposed to be appreciated for what they are. If they are painters like it seems to Frida the woman being described, they must be appreciated. Rita dove makes use of various stylistic devices as the ones described below to bring out the true picture of a woman who knows how take care of herself. The value is portrayed through the devices of style to express the theme of adoration and liking for women for what they are made of.

The value of the poem in connection with stylistic devices used

The stylistic devices expressed in the poem are alliteration, imagery and similes. The author through the persona says

“…erect among parrots…”

From this line in stanza one the author seems to be implying that the woman outstands among other women who are peasant painters with her art of painting.  Parrots are known to be noisy or talkative but through the imagery the woman value has been brought out. Besides, the author says;

“…celluloid butterflies of her beloved dead…”

Alliteration has been used in the sentence by repetition of ‘L’ sound to give the poem some sense of musicality when reading the qualities portrayed of the woman. The woman is astoundingly beautiful before the eyes of the persona. The poem has value to the society as to sensitize women about how they look and how they present themselves before the people. Though they may be poor or nobody in the society but its important how they put on and how they portray themselves to be.

Moreover similes have been used as in the second stanza where Rita Dove says;

“…hundred dogs panting like children along graveled walks…”

The stanza brings out the admiration of the man of the woman’s feet and hands. The feet and the hands have been painted in a unique manner. The fingerprints are shown to be indisputably good looking, inclusive of her beautiful eyebrows which sums everything about the woman. She is lovely to look at. It can be noted that the whole poem does not have any contempt for the woman, which indicates through the devices of literature that women are important in the society.










Work cited

Nist, Shakespeare’s Mistress, Rita Dove in Sonnet in primary colors, 2011, web, Accessed on

03/04/2011; < http://nwenglish11.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/shakespeares-mistress/>

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