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Rhetorical Questions

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In Mary Oliver’s poem, “Some Questions You Might Ask”, Oliver discusses the common beliefs regarding souls, and analyzes them logically. The speaker utilizes rhetorical questions, as well as Juxtaposition to portray to the reader that souls are highly unknown, and they are likely not exclusive to only humans.
The speaker begins the poem by juxtaposing strong rhetorical questions that force the reader to think about the concept of souls. The speaker asks, “Is the soul solid, like iron?/ Or is it tender and breakable, like/ the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?” The contrast of iron with moth wings effectively relays to the reader that it is not known whether a soul will last after death, or if it will shatter into a million pieces. Another …show more content…
A specific use of rhetorical question that is especially effective appears in lines fourteen and fifteen, in which the speaker asks: “Why should I have it, and not the anteater/ who loves her children?” This, along with the statement “The face of the moose is as sad/ as the face of Jesus.” establish commonality between people and animals, as they also feel emotion and have a conscience, so they should also have a soul. This use of rhetorical questions to express the idea that souls might not be limited are furthered in the rest of the poem, and are especially powerful in lines eighteen through twenty. The speaker asks the reader: “What about the blue iris?/ What about the all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?/ What about roses , and lemons, and their shining leaves?” This imagery and use of rhetorical question describing the beauty of nature ask the reader a specific question: shouldn’t all aspects of nature and the earth have a soul? This question is then emphasized with the question, “What about the grass?” Grass typically represents a connectivity of nature, or a sense of community. So, the speaker is telling the reader that the soul is widely unknown, so it is unreasonable to assume that all living things are not connected and do not have a

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