‘Proposal’ is one of the poems that were written by Raymond Carver. In this poem, there are several poetic devices that have been used to describe various situations. Similes and metaphors are the most common devices that have been used. Also there are personification, irony and tones that have been used by Raymond in the poem. These devices are specifically meant to bring out a clear picture of what was happening in the poetry. This poem talks about the two lovers who were longing for their wedding day. The man wanted to have a romantic relationship with his lover. The entire story in the poem is supported by the poetic devices in order to give the reader a certain emotion.
First, I would like to discuss about metaphor as it is used in the poem. The statement, ‘….And this postponement, it’s ripened too….’ is a metaphor used to describe the eagerness of the man in the poetry. The man has been waiting eagerly for their wedding day. This metaphor is quite important in this part because the reader can see what the poet means. It has been used to compare two unlike things in this poetry. It is comparing the importance of what they have been anticipating with the kind of patience that they have. This metaphor has helped the writer create a verbal picture that helps us see ideas more clearly. We now see that situation of the two lovers longing for their wedding day. It helps the reader see how the man awaits for the day of wedding. Also the title of the poem supports the idea of the repeated metaphor in the poem.
Another metaphor that ha been used in the poem is ‘….I supposes we should be in a rose-filled garden or at least on a beautiful cliff…’ In this metaphor we find a very clear image of the beautiful cliff and the garden full of roses. It also brings a clear picture of the situation of the two lovers. We, therefore, realize that the man was very eager and could only imagine their romantic love relationships in the beautiful places such as the beautiful cliff in the sea and the beautiful garden full of roses. The metaphor here extends and clarifies the meaning of the beautiful cliffs off the sea and the rose-filled garden.
Another device that has been used in the poet is Irony. Irony has been used in various parts of this poem. For example, as the two lovers discuss their wedding in a hotel, an Egyptian intrudes them and diverge their concentrations. The situation of the two characters in this part of the poem is described as pathetic. They have been undergoing some losses and many struggles; some of which go through but some fail. In the other side, the two are seen to be united and co-operative. We see them portraying this great irony even in time of loss. Therefore, the irony in the poet describes the difference between the sorrowful and happy moments in this relationship.
In the poem, ‘Proposal’, we also find Personification. It has been used in several parts of the poem. Personification is the giving of human traits to non-human things that have got no such traits. In the poet ‘Proposal’, we find that the flames are given traits of human beings, i.e. the writer says that the flame was dancing’. Writing about a dancing flame may have a personification, but this doesn’t mean that the personification enhances the poetry’s emotions. Therefore, we need to understand this poetic device as it has been used by Carver. It has been used to aid the emotions found in the poem.
Also we can say that the poem’s tone is happy. This is clearly portrayed where the two characters in the poem are holding their hands together. This shows that the two were always happy because they loved one another and that there was something good that they were expecting in their near future. However, the tone in this poem may also be based on other conventions that the poem has used. Such conventions are the repetitions and meter, whereby we find repetition in the 31st line.
I would also like to discus how simile has been used in this poem. Simile is the most common poetic word usage. In the poem, Proposal, the simile has been use to compare the past and the present, while metaphor has been used to suggest that one thing similar to another thing. In this poetry, simile can, therefore, tempt the poet to be stilted and more contrived. Consider again, for example, the fifth line of the above poet, ‘where did you come from you sweet Horse’’. This simile is extended throughout the fifth line of the stanza and the image of the man recurs in the poem. Initially, it is the lovers that have been likened to a vise in which the perspective of this verse is majored.
In conclusion, the poem contains poetic devices which are integral to its production. It has been used to create pictures and sounds within this particular poetry. In this poet the reader gets to understand the imaginations through the use of metaphors and simile. This drives our minds to understand very well the end solution of the two characters in the poem ‘Proposal’. The two characters are eventually seen achieving their dream after coming along way through their relationship.
Bugeja, M. (1986) An Analysis of Carver’s Cathedral. New York: South Dakota Review