Explain the figures of speech and other poetic devices used in James Patrick Kinney’s poem ‘The Cold Within’.
Kinney’s poem The Cold Within is rich in its use of poetic devices, or figures of speech for that matter. However, the literary devices found in the poem are as follows —
Alliteration is the repetition of similar consonant sounds at the beginning of adjacent words.
In bleak and bitter cold.
the repetition of ‘b’ in ‘bleak’ and ‘bitter’ is an example of alliteration here.
Metaphor is an indirect and implied comparison of two different things where there is a point of similarity.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.
In the above lines, human life is compared to a game. The last man would give something to one who could give him something in return. This is how he played the game of life. The comparison of life to a game is a metaphor.
A metonymy is a word of phrase used to mean something closely associated to it.
Saw one not of his church.
Here, the word ‘church’ represents religious faith. The second man saw that a man present there was not sharing his beliefs. So, it can be classified as a metonymy.
Personification is attributing human characteristics to something non-human.
Their logs held tight in death’s still hands.
‘Death’ is here personified with the attribution of ‘still hands’.
In the poem ‘The Cold Within’, Kinney’s skillful use of visual imagery is aimed at engaging the reader.
Environment: In dark and bitter cold (Line 2) ; the dying fire (Line 5)
Mannerisms: The first one held hers back (Line 6); He gave his coat a hitch (Line 14)
Physical appearance: He noticed one was black (Line 8); The third one sat in tattered clothes (Line 13)
Allegory and Symbolism:
The poem is full of symbols. The logs of wood and the dying fire are symbolic. Moreover, the six persons represent the entire human race which is divided based on petty barriers like caste, class, colour, religion and so on. The whole poem, as a poetic parable, is allegorical, having a deeper teaching on life.