An Analysis of To the Fringed Gentian

Written by William Cullen Bryant, the poem is a creative description of the beauty of nature, which the writer encountered on mountains while in Massachusetts. He describes the nature of Fringed Gentian, which is a bright-blue flower falling and blooming depending on seasons; it blooms in late autumn, a time when most flowers have fallen already.

The writers tone gets calm as he describes the beauty of nature as seasons change; he also gets spiritual insight comparing the falling of a season to another like life and death. It starts with a description of the flower, which is giving a sense of optimism, but at the end, the description gets pessimistic as the poet uses two tones in the poem; reverent and solemn.

The appearance of the flower is adored, but the behavior of the flower is seen to have some negative note; especially, the fact that it blooms late in autumn. By observing the behavior of the flower with season, the poet makes a wish for his life by saying “Hope, blossoming within my heart, May look to heaven as I depart”.

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In the first stanza, the poet gives a description of the flower; he says that it blooms late in autumn, it is blue-colored, and that it opens early with the disappearance of the night. The second stanza describes the uniqueness of the flower in that it blooms when other flowers are falling; Fringed Gentian does not blossom in springs with other flowers. The third stanza is a description of the period of the flower blossom; a period when most things are dying. The woods become bare while birds have flown away; the flower thus has a solitary appearance. 

The fourth stanza is a description of the flower appearance during its season; its beauty is adored. The fifth stanza, which is the last stanza, ends the poem with the poet making a wish for his life by comparing his life with that of the Fringed Gentian.

The poem is made of four lines in each stanza (a tetrameter); it is rich in imagery, metaphors, personification, and similes. There is also rhyme and use of consonance in the stanzas making the poem an interesting piece of literature.

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