Literary Devices in Orchard

Imagery: Doolittle incorporates sensory imagery in order to bring to life the orchard. Imagery engages all of our senses and emphasizes the temptation and beauty of the orchard. To this end, the speaker uses evocative images, such as describing berries “dripping with wine.”

Biblical Allusions: Biblical allusions appear throughout the poem. These allusions convey the theme of temptation and, by association, sinning. The speaker describes the orchard to have “flayed” her with its beauty, creating a correlation between appreciating beauty and punishment.

Literary Devices Examples in Orchard:

Orchard 5

"song..."   (Orchard)

Since H.D.’s poetry is an example of Imagism, the language she uses throughout this poem causes the reader to see and feel the indulgent things that she encounters in this garden. While the poem expressly claims Puritan morality, the use of this poetic technique suggests that the words of the poem are actually a type of indulgence. In other words, the speaker indulges in the fruit she claims to deny by describing them in robust, vivid terms, which in turn forces the reader to be complicit in this sin.

"alone..."   (Orchard)

The speaker contrasts the bees lively activity to her own idleness, demonstrating that she alone feels the struggle of earthly temptation. By emphasizing the difference between her and the bees, the speaker shows how the appreciation for aesthetic beauty is a solely human experience, and one we must resist in order to be productive.

"fallen..."   (Orchard)

The repeated use of “fallen” once again speaks to the Garden of Eden story. Falling hazelnuts parallel to the image of the speaker as she falls to the ground. Also, while the beginning of the poem described the falling pear, here the hazelnuts have already fallen. This suggests the passing of time and a changing of the seasons.

"thundered..."   (Orchard)

H.D. was known for her involvement with a group of early 20th-century poets called the Imagists. The Imagists sought to create clear, vivid imagery through their poetry. In this line, H.D uses bold language to describe the buzz of the bees to be as loud as thunder. This description further continues the sense of violence or intensity introduced by “flayed” and allows the reader to vividly “hear” the liveliness of the orchard environment.

"the yellow swarm..."   (Orchard)

Simply saying “bees” would have allowed readers to conjure their own thoughts and associations. Instead, H.D.’s speaker employs descriptive and vibrant word choices to portray items in the orchard in a particular way. Readers then have no choice but to be swept up in the same awe and emotional power that the speaker experiences.