Analysis of 'Otherwise' by Jane Kenyon

Decent Essays
It Might Have Been Otherwise: Analysis of “Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon
Jane Kenyon, the author of “Otherwise”, once said, “The poet's job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way, that people cannot live without it.” Jane died a few years later after writing this poem, and it was published after her death. “Otherwise” is a meaningful poem that describes the tender truth about death in a definite but beautiful way; it also emphasizes the pleasant normalcy in life, and how everything will change.
This poem is basically about being thankful for having the simple cherished things in life, and how it could be different. It is in two
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These lines are used to show how grateful she is to be with her mate, and eat with specific, silver candles:
At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. (13-18) She uses the line “It might/ have been otherwise” (14-15) again after each of those lines to indicate how those simple, ordinary things should not be taken for granted. Jane makes this line seem like a dream come true: “I slept in a bed/in a room with paintings/on the walls…” (20-22).To most people, the sentence seems simple, but to Jane, the paintings are symbolic of life, of being alive. The last lines imply that one day the speaker will not wake up, eat a flawless peach, walk her dog, have dinner with candlesticks, or sleep in a room with paintings because she knows one day everything will change: “But one day, I know/ it will be otherwise” (25-26) .
Some other literary devices used in the poem are: repetition, imagery, and alliteration. For repetition the line: “It might have been otherwise” is used throughout the poem repeatedly to exaggerate the fact that anything could have happened. That line gives the poem a solemn, but still pleasant mood. Imagery is used in these lines: “I ate/ cereal, sweet/milk, ripe, flawless/peach” (4-7). Jane uses those lines to describe everyday foods as if they were something special. Alliteration is used in this line: “…my mate. It/ might...” (14). The “m”
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