Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blackberry Eating by Galway Kinnell

                Kinnell paints a raw, harsh picture of blackberry eating through the use of his diction and imagery. He first establishes that he goes out to eat these blackberries in late September which establishes that it is that time of year when the air becomes brisker. Also, he eats these blackberries for breakfast which means he is picking in the cold of the morning. He characterizes the blackberries as “fat, overripe, icy, black” (2). This shows us a clear picture of the blackberries, they are overripe, yet they are still firm and icy. I imagine the blackberries having dew on the sides. His diction is imperative here because he paints a clear picture of these fat overripe blackberries. He uses harsh, hard words such as icy and black which shows the tartness of the blackberries. He is definitely not eating a sweet fruit. He goes on to personify the blackberries.
                He describes them as having prickly stalks “for knowing the black art” (5). He personifies the blackberries as evil. Through this personification, Kinnell shows that the blackberries are tart and harsh, but the speaker still eats them. To continue this argument he describes the how the berries “fall almost unbidden to [the] tongue” (8). The word choice here is significant here because the word unbidden means the blackberries are coming in the speaker’s mouth uninvited. These are powerful objects with a life of their own. These blackberries or “one-syllabled lumps” (11) are nothing like the sweet taste of an apple. Kinnell uses diction imperative to the poem in line 13 when he describes the speaker as “squeeze[ing], squinch[ing] open, and splurge[ing] well”. The alliteration here makes the poem rhythmic which shows that the blackberries are a beautiful fruit, but they are not 100% sweet. Also, the words utilized here have a hard clamor to them, meaning that these words are not light and airy. This exemplifies the harshing of the blackberries.