Root Cellar (Theodore Roethke)

596 Words3 Pages
Life is tough. Life is hard. Life brings turmoil. Life is all these things and more. In spite of life’s hardships, is life itself worth living? Roethke uses an overall somber tone to embody the somberness of life’s rigor and ups and downs, but the somber tone is changed to hopeful in the end because no matter what life takes one through, life can never be taken because its spirit is too grand, its will is too powerful, its nature is too persistent. Life may go through the fire, but it will come out as gold. Theodore Roethke’s Root Cellar encompasses the turmoil of life through the uses a the somber tone; however through the use of the specific diction and grave detail, hope is given that even though life is tough, its yet life and should never be thrown away or given up on. Roethke uses a somber tone in order to display the somberness that life’s hardships present. The image of a morbid cellar is used in order to display the hardships of life. This cellar is “dank as a ditch” filled with “mildewed crates.” “A congress of stinks” filled the cellar. The somber tone is gathered and felt through the diction. Words like broke, dark, drooped, lolling, mildewed, evil, dank, etc indicate that the speaker is overall dissatisfied with this morbid root cellar. The root cellar itself has a negative connotation. Root cellars are seen as a place of forgetting. They are usually the lowest place of a house in which items of the past are thrown away and forgotten about. Mildew and spiders’ webs grow within, and unpleasant smells manifest themselves within root cellars. From the first glance at the title, the reader instantly gathers that the tone is one of being displeased and somber. The diction unveiled the tone, and the grave detail protruded it. The grave detail throughout the poem displays total disgust for the root cellar which distracts the reader from the hopeful ending.
Open Document