Literal and Metaphorical Meaning in Adrienne Rich's "Storm Warnings"

             Adrienne Rich, a renowned confessional poet, uses unique structural style in order to reveal literal and metaphorical meanings in her poem, “Storm Warnings”. The cleverly designed structure allows her to progress in an organized manner to explain both an external and internal conflict held by the speaker. The structure of the poem parallels the external storm happening outside. Once the speaker is aware of the approaching storm, she takes cover to protect herself, and allows the storm to pass. The internal and metaphorical storm, which represents the speaker’s inner conflict, takes a similar path; the speaker recognizes the approaching conflict, finds a place of sanction and comfort, and finally learns to advance with the storm instead of trying to fight it. Therefore, the reader is able to recognize that the structure of the poem is a direct correlation to the movement of the internal storm. Both the external and internal storms entice the speaker to realize that she cannot t!
             ry to prevent or stop a storm, no matter how long or how many warnings she may receive. She must learn to shelter her physical self and her internal soul.
             The natural progression of the poem’s stanzas may not seem altogether important, but the four sestets represent something extremely significant. The development of the storm takes an unwavering path. Rich states, “The glass has been falling all the afternoon … winds are walking overhead . . . gray unrest is moving across the land . . . boughs strain against the sky . . .” (1-7). The external storm has been continuing all day, clouds are still forming, and the rain has yet to stop. Therefore, the first stanza reveals the initial warning that a fiercer storm has yet to begun, and it is much worse than the speaker may expect. Once the storm reaches its climax in the second and third stanzas, the speaker is forced to “ . . . move inward toward a silent core of waiting . . .” (8) in order t...

More Essays:

APA     MLA     Chicago
Literal and Metaphorical Meaning in Adrienne Rich's "Storm Warnings" . (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:59, January 18, 2017, from