Analysis of Edna St. Vincent Millay's

926 Words4 Pages
Wilson 1 Stephanie Wilson Dr. Madden English 140 2 May 200X Analysis of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” In the 1923 sonnet, "What lips my lips have kissed," Edna St. Vincent Millay speaks of various loves coming to an end and the despair associated with those losses. Many different aspects of the sonnet's form are used to portray its distinct meaning, including its structure, the turns, the mood, and especially the powerful metaphor. Two of the major themes that this sonnet is centered around are change and loss. The theme of change is most obvious in the season imagery that Millay uses. The theme of loss is present throughout the majority of the sonnet but becomes most obvious in the last few lines. Different parts of the form, as well as the content, of this modern Italian sonnet are traditional, while some are untraditional. In this sonnet the octave has the traditional rhyme scheme of an Italian sonnet, but it is followed by a variation of the sestet and does not contain a rhyming couplet in the final two lines. The use of run-on lines in the octave is a demonstration of Millay's untraditional style. These run-on lines cause the end rhymes to be lost in the middle of the sentences. This use of caesura and enjambment create[s] a flowing feeling as Millay describes her lovers. The content of this sonnet is also untraditional as Millay boasts of having so many different lovers over the course of her life. This is certainly not the theme for a traditional sonnet which usually praises a single lover. Copyright (c) 2005, Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Pearson Longman. All Rights Reserved. Wilson 2 The argument of this sonnet is altered on two separate occasions where a turn creates a small change in the flow of ideas. In the first octave Millay describes her experiences with love on a personal level,
Open Document