Literary Devices in On Monsieur's Departure

Literary Devices Examples in On Monsieur's Departure:

On Monsieur's Departure 5

"die..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

This line begins with “or die,” which suggests the end of this speaker’s body and consciousness. However, she continues the line and claims that this death will allow her to “forget” her love. This continuation suggests that the “death” she longs for is not a physical death but the metaphorical death of her second self. She wants the secret part of her that loves this man to die.

"Or..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

In the first stanza, the speaker cannot make distinct statements without contradicting herself and ending her line of thought. In a sense she is closing off her possibilities. In this final stanza, the repetition of “or” opens up many possibilities. “Or” suggests that there are many available solutions to her problem. However, notice also that the poem does not end with the speaker choosing one of these options. Instead, the speaker is paralyzed and does not take decisive action.

"it..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

In this line the referent of “it” is unclear. “It” could refer to his care, her pretended indifference to the relationship, her own care, or her actions (“what I have done”). In this way, she is either resenting his love, the actions she committed that made him express his love, or the circumstances that make her unable to receive that love. This line suggests tension between the speaker’s actions and thoughts about those actions and further emphasizes her divided nature.

"am burned,..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

Notice that in this line the burning is passive: I “am burned.” This suggests that she is injured by an external force, something is done to her. In this way, the speaker places her love outside of her body: it is something that affects her rather than comes from her.

"mute..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“I seem stark mute” can be read as the narrator’s commentary on the first three lines of this poem. She believes she has become “mute” because she is unable to express how she feels without contradicting herself.