Edna St. Vincent Millay 's Sonnet Iv

1257 WordsNov 22, 20146 Pages
Braedon Petch ENGL 1F95 25 November 2014 Word count: 289 Fugacious Relationships and Everlasting Memories in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Sonnet IV” Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Sonnet IV” follows many of the conventions of the traditional Petrarchan sonnet. It follows the traditional rhyming scheme and octet, sestet structure. However it challenges the conventions of the typical subject of the Italian sonnet, unrequited love. In the octet at the beginning of the poem Millay uses images that give a sense of transience and in the ending sestet of the sonnet she contrasts the sense of impermanence given earlier with the idea that the speaker cannot forget the smiles and words of their ex-lover. This contrast between permanence and transience illustrates Millay’s interest in a fugacious relationship with everlasting memories. After further analysis of Millay’s highly structured rhyming scheme which puts emphasis on the last words of each line. She uses these words to further express her interest in exploring impermanent relationships by using words that are associated with an end or death. Millay expresses her interest in a fugacious relationship by using transient images. The first image she uses is “this cigarette is ended,” (1). When a cigarette is smoked it slowly shrinks until its short life is ended. She gives the reader this image to draw a connection between the short life of a cigarette and a short-lived relationship experienced by the speaker. Just as a cigarette gives

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