Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet What lips my lips have kissed and where and why

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Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet, “What lips my lips have kissed and where and why”

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet, “What lips my lips have kissed and where and why,” is about being, physically or mentally jaded, and thinking back to the torrid love of one’s youth. The “ghosts” that haunt her are the many lovers of her past; she’s specifically trying to remember them all. She recalls the passion she experienced and how there was a certain feeling within herself. Millay shows this through her vivid imagery, use of the rain as a literary device and by paralleling herself with a lonely tree.

The use of symbols sets the tone of the piece. She personifies the rain in, “But the rain/ Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh/ Upon the glass and listen for reply.” She makes t...

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