While metaphors are meant to be a comparison between two unlike things, Collins takes it to an entirely new level. The first few lines of the poem are “You are the bread and the knife, the crystal goblet and the wine”(Line 1-2). The narrator is saying here that a woman can be compared to bread and a knife, and a crystal goblet and the wine. An interpretation of the first line might be that the woman in the poem is independent, playing multiple roles within her own or someone else’s life. Maybe it is referring to a mother whom not only is the friend and support system to her child, but also the one that disciplines them. Or it could be a reference to a female that is acted on and also acts on something, perhaps a woman that is in charge of her own life, she holds the knife herself and she determines how “the bread” will be cut. It could easily be a reference to money, the female could be the person making the money and also spending the money, all leading back to independence and self-sufficiency.
In accordance with the theme of independence and self-sufficiency, the narrator says “And a quick look in the mirror wil...
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...to encourage the reader to question why he may have chosen them, but there is no real way of knowing. The reader is then left to determine what his or her own interpretation of why the female character within the poem is being referred to such objects, ideas, animals, and aspects of nature. Based on the metaphors being used, it can be interpreted that the female character is strongly independent. The imagery backs up these claims because it uses not only interpretation of words, but also interpretation of images. The best metaphor and imagery combination to support the idea that the female character is strongly independent and living actively is “you are not the boots in the corner nor the boat asleep in its boathouse”(Line 16-18). The use of the three literary devices, metaphors, imagery, and anaphora, allows the reader to form a better interpretation of “Litany”.
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