D.C. Berry's On Reading Poems to a Senior Class at South High

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D.C. Berry's On Reading Poems to a Senior Class at South High

In "On Reading Poems to a Senior Class at South High" by D.C. Berry, the author vividly portrays the interactive experience of a poetry reading between a senior high school class and its teacher. The event is compared to a school of fish excitedly swimming around an aquarium until a sudden rupture in the aquarium causes everyone to "leak out." Berry uses form, sound devices, and poetic devices to enhance the different levels of excitement and interaction throughout the poetry reading.

The nontraditional form of the poem with regard to stanzas, capitalization and punctuation, and rhyme scheme and meter, helps create a sensation of free-flowing water within a …show more content…

The imagery of the poem, portraying the class as a school of fish, is constructed by the poetic devices of metaphors, similes, and metonymy. Water is used as a metaphor for the teacher's words; the reference to "water [beginning] to fill the room" connects to the later reference to the teacher who "trie[s] to drown [the students] with [his] words" (lines 6 and 13). Fish are used as a metaphor to describe both the teacher and his students; "together [they] swam around the room" (line 18). Another example of this is when the teacher's hands are compared to fins in lines 28 and 29. Finally, the classroom is metaphorically compared to an aquarium; the "hole in the door" (line 22) causes everyone to "leak out" (line 23). The first simile of the poem occurs in line 4 when the students are "as orderly as frozen fish." This image is supported by later similes such as "like gills" (line 16) and "like thirty tails whacking words" (line 19). The first simile describes the students who are eager to take in the "water" or words of the teacher. The second simile refers to the group interaction between the teacher and the students.

However, these examples of similes can also be seen as examples of metonymy within the context of describing the students as fish. In the first simile, the students are specifically referred to as the gills of a fish (instead of the whole fish) to emphasize their dependency on water. In the

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