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12 Literary Devices In Birches By Robert Frost


Let me quickly take you through some of the literary devices evident in one of Robert Frost's evergreen poems titled "Birches".

Personification: This is when an inanimate object or abstract idea is represented as animated or embodied with personalities. "But I was going to say when Truth broke in/ With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm" (line 21-22). Truth was written as if human name and also given human qualities.

Assonance: This is the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words. "When I see birches bend to left and right" (line 1)

Alliteration: This is the repetition of the same letter at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other or at a short interval. "As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel" (line 9). "Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells" (line 10).


Enjambment: This is the continuation of syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause. "As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them/ Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning" (line 5-6)

Simile: This is a word or phrase by which anything is likened with the use of like or as. "But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay/ As ice-storms" (line 4-5) and "Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground/ Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair" (line 18-19)

Hyperbole: This is an expression with evidence of exaggeration of meaning to be conveyed. "With the same pains you use to fill a cup/ Up to the brim, and even above the brim" (line 37-38).

Contrast: This is any expression with clear motive of juxtaposition. "I like to think some boy's been swinging them/ But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay" (lines 3-4).

Allegory: It is a figurative which describes a certain subject with another subject resembling it in properties or circumstances. The poem is commonly known to carry a deeper meaning towards life death as the aged poet had come to realize from experience. The birch tree is used in the poem represent the phases of human life.

Imagery: This is the making of images or visual representation of objects with words or expressions. "Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust" (line 11) "From a twig's having lashed across it open" (line 47) "...a snow-white trunk" (line 55).

Free verse: The poem is written in free verse. There is no distinguishing end rhyme scheme for "Birches". This might be because writing in free verse allows for freedom from the limitations of end rhymes.

Mood: This is the manner at which a literary message is conveyed. The mood is passionate enough to expose the poet's love for not just the tenacity and flexibility of the birches but the act of swinging them for fun which led to "I like to think some boy's been swinging them" in line 3 and "I should prefer to have some boy bend them" in line 23.

Tone: This exposes the state of mind. It described the relationship between man and his natural environment. The birch trees being subjects of nature add pleasure to rural youths by eroding their boredom.
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