"Root Cellar", Life and Death Poem Review by Nicky

"Root Cellar", Life and Death
An analysis of Theodore Roethke's poem "Root Cellar".
# 145463 | 800 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 11, 2010 in Literature (American) , Literature (Poetry) , Language (General)

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In this article, the writer discusses that Theodore Roethke's "Root Cellar" is a poem that focuses on the fight for life in the most dreadful environment. The writer discusses that with images of life coupled with images of death, the poet establishes a testament to the power of living and the will to live. The poem is a meditation of life that takes place in the most unusual of places, emphasizing the will of every living thing. The writer points out that the images are strong and allow us to see just how every living thing will find a way to life as long as it has even the slightest chance. The writer concludes that "Root Cellar" affirms the notion that all living things fight for survival and strive to breathe, as words do upon a piece of paper.

From the Paper:

"One of the most powerful features of the poem is the imagery the poet utilizes to convey the life and death he sees in the cellar. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the imagery is the appearance of it; the poet brings ugly images to mind to explore the topic of life. In fact, these ugly things can even be said to celebrate life given their surroundings. For example, the cellar is dark and cool - so much so that ``nothing would sleep'' (1) in it. Our first image is one of bulbs breaking ``out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark'' (2). In addition, shoots ``dangle and droop, / Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates'' (3-4). These shoots are hanging ``down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes'' (5). The poet uses these images intentionally to create a mood that is more unsettling more than anything. The shoots hang down from evil necks and they do so obscenely. Right away, the poet presents us with words and images that are meant to make us cringe."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Roethke, Theodore. "Root Cellar." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Kennedy, X. J., ed. New York: Longman. 1998.

Cite this Poem Review:

APA Format

"Root Cellar", Life and Death (2010, November 11) Retrieved July 29, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/poem-review/root-cellar-life-and-death-145463/

MLA Format

""Root Cellar", Life and Death" 11 November 2010. Web. 29 July. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/poem-review/root-cellar-life-and-death-145463/>