Literary Analysis Of Theodore Roethke'sI Knew A Woman

Decent Essays
Theodore Roethke’s poem, “I Knew a Woman,” tells the intimate story about a man’s lasting memories of a woman from his past using repetition, allusion, and rhyme. Roethke does not follow a constant rhyme scheme throughout the poem although rhyme does occur throughout every stanza of the poem. Upon first read the poem comes off as a simple tale of a man learning how to dance while a deeper read show that it is much more complex.
The opening of the first line reads, “I knew a woman, lovely in her bones.” This phrase explains that her beauty dipped below the surface, it was skin deep. Which follows into line two where Roethke uses repetition to explain her inner beauty. The woman is so friendly she sighs to the birds when the sigh. The word sigh is repeated twice. The second use of the word is used as a reply to the first word. The repetition follows through several of the remaining stanzas. The third line introduces the reader to a more sexual approach to the poem. Roethke explains her a body moves, repeating the word moved twice to emphasize how well her body moved while she swayed. Her body sways in ways that cannot be contained. Her body moves in circles (4). Roethke uses the words container and contained to explain body movement once again. The last three remaining lines of the poem rhyme. Although she held high moral values she was not one to shy away from intimate acts like the Greeks (5-6). Greeks gods were held to high standards, but they were still very much a
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