Essay Millay Sonnett Analysis: Not in a Silver Casket

2240 Words Dec 3rd, 2008 9 Pages
Analysis of Millay’s “Not in a silver casket cool with pearls”

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s unconventional childhood, growing up without a father because her mom kicked him out and having to learn independence and responsibility by the age of twelve, influenced her poetry and shaped her as an motivated and self-sufficient individual. By the time “Vincent”, as she liked to be called, was nineteen years old, she already had already made a name for herself as a formidable poet. A couple discovered her and sponsored her education at Vassar College where Vincent experimented with her sexuality. She openly expressed her bisexuality, and continued to have both male and female sexual partners. When she married Eugen Boissevain, the couple agreed
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She continues by mentioning the “ungemmed” hand, because she believes that you don’t need to wear jewelry to express the extent of your love for someone. Women love rubies, sapphires, and pearls, but Edna’s point is that no objects, especially traditional objects used to show commitment and affection, are needed for two people to express their love and devotion for one other. Jewelry is more appealing to women, so it may be referenced more when talking to a female lover than it would be if she was trying to share her feelings with a man. Enda refers to “you” which really puts and emphasis on the fact that there is a specific person that this poem is written to, but it must not be a man because the whole sonnet seems to express a secret love affair that needs to be kept “secret” or hidden, and the analogies and references made to an open relationship with out any signs of true commitment aside from a weak oath “not to hurt” the other and an excited expostulation, “Look what I have!”, to a promise that even though the traditional signs of love are not being utilized in this love affair, that Enda is committing everything she can to her beloved—she’s willing share all her “apples”. This sonnet has very smooth and fluid feel to it, most of which can be attributed to the iambic pentameter and Elizabethan sonnet rhyme scheme as well as the numerous sound…