In the poem, “A Birthday”, Christina Rossetti uses extensive and positive imagery, mostly pertaining to natural descriptions. The whole poem is composed of imagery, used for the purpose of relaying the sense of pure joy the speaker is feeling. There is also a contrast between the two stanzas. The imagery used in the first stanza draws on familiar natural objects but can also be read with many biblical implications. In the second verse, the poet speaks quite materialistically about exotic and royal things.
The poet has given birth to a new phase of her life; hence the poem is named as The Birthday.
I think that the poem uses a lot of very beautiful imagery with a very romantic view towards nature, which adds a very high richness to the text, which works to show the beauty of her new phase of life, her “birthday”. The first line starts off with the imagery, “My heart is like a singing bird. ” This gives the impression that her heart feels the same joy as a bird has when singing.
The image of the singing bird is one which is often used in Romantic poetry. This creates a very romantic and beautiful tone to the poem. As well, a bird sings without trying; it happens naturally.
This emphasizes the idea that the poet is not attempting to feel this way on purpose, but rather the joy she has occurs naturally and is almost uncontainable. Also, she uses “heart”, which underlines the strength of her love, as a heartbeat is a constant pulse, showing that the poet believes that her love is something that is a big part of her being. By having a ‘nest’ in a ‘watered shoot’ (line 2), the speaker suggests that she finally feels comfortable and can stay: The word shoot links to the initial growth of a plant, combined with how the shoot is ‘well watered’, the poem conveys ideas of lushness and fertility.
The idea of being watered also has biblical connotations; such as the idea of baptism, when a child is watered to begin their lives under the path of god. Another example of imagery in the poem is, “My heart is like an apple tree whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit. ” This illustrates the fact that just like the apple tree with its arms full of apples, the speaker’s heart is also “full. ” This implies that the narrator is content, fulfilled, and at peace with her life.
The idea of apples might also lead readers to think of the apples in the Garden of Eden, as the apple is often used to represent the “forbidden fruit”. This may lead readers to feel as though Rossetti feels she is at a point in her life where she can live in perfect peace with nature, like in the Garden of Eden. The speaker also says “My heart is like a rainbow shell,” a colorful image possibly meaning that the speaker feels vibrant, bright and energized because of her new-found happiness.
Obviously the first part of the poem explains the emotions that the speaker is feeling. The speaker of A Birthday uses the technique of pathetic fallacy when she gives emotions to the ‘apple tree’ full of fruit and the ‘rainbow shell’. This is the giving of human feelings, thought or sensations to inanimate objects. This causes the imagery in the poem to sound very romantic. The poet also features some structural techniques through the text to also back up her ideas. Each alternate line in the first verse begins ‘My heart is like’.
This could be seen to emphasise the speaker’s struggle to find the fitting language to describe her emotions, as the emotions she is experiencing are too strong to be describe by word. From the examples above, it is clearly shown that the speaker gives a lot of picturesque examples meant to explain how the speaker feels ecstatic, happy, and in passionately in love. Most of the imagery mentions plants, animals, and other natural things while describing joy and bliss, shown by how the speaker associates nature with feelings of happiness and romance.
Cite this A Birthday- Christina Rossetti
A Birthday- Christina Rossetti. (2016, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-birthday-christina-rossetti/