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Not Waving But Drowning Essay

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Charity Moorhous
ENGL 102
Paper #1
28 October 2014
Can You Hear Me?
In Stevie Smith’s poem, “Not Waving But Drowning”, he creates an internal conflict of a “dead man” towards the people in his life. The man is literally dying to be heard by someone and ultimately saved, but as the poem suggests no one has heard him. Smith portrays these cries for help so powerful that the man continues to seek help after his death. Through syntax, diction, and the use of metaphor, Smith illustrates a powerful stance on suffering in silence. Smith applies both syntax and diction to accurately depict the meaning behind “Not Waving but Drowning”. Syntax and diction play a close role in the word choice, placement of the words, and overall affecting the tone of the poem. The poem has identifies three different speakers: a narrator, “the dead man”, and the living. Smith’s choice of pronouns guides the reader through each stanza by depicting who is speaking. The pronouns “him’, “he”, and “his” are used by the narrator and the living, in r...

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