Infinite Riches in a Little Room

Dr. Pamela Troyer
Assistant Professor of English, MSU Denver
Cheryl Upshaw
English Major / Tech Comm Minor, MSU Denver
Social Media Assistant / Intern, Teaching with Primary Sources
Do not free them.
Confine them.
“Infinite riches in a
little room”
 14 lines
 140 syllables
 Iambic hexameter
 Set rhyme scheme
Asyndeton - “not bound”
Anadiplosis -“to double back”
Paronomasia - “two meanings”
Prosopopoeia -“making a mask”
Hyperbole - “excess”
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
Alexandrine Line (iambic hexameter)
That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Asyndeton (not bound)
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
Anadiplosis (to double back)
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Hyperbole (exaggeration for effect)
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burned brain.
Consonance (repetition of consonants)
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
Prosopopoeia (personification)
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Paronomasia (double meaning)
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Conceit (elaborate and unusual comparison)
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite -"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."
Before the war, they were happy, he said
Meiosis (understatement)
quoting our textbook (this was senior-year
history class) The slaves were clothed, fed,
and better off under a master's care.
I watched the words blur on the page. No one
raised a hand, disagreed. Not even me.
It was late; we still had Reconstruction
Paronomasia (double meaning)
to cover before the test, and, - luckily three hours of watching Gone with the Wind.
History, the teacher said, of the old South -
Juxtaposition (next to)
Irony (unexpected meaning)
a true account of how things were back then.
On screen a slave stood big as life: big mouth,
Hyperbole (exaggeration)
bucked eyes, our textbook's grinning proof - a lie
Prosopopoeia (personification)
my teacher guarded. Silent, so did I.
Low Pay Piecework
The fifth-grade teacher and her followers—
Five classes, twenty-eight in each, all hers:
One-hundred-and-forty different characters.
The poem creates a space. It hides in a tent in a
forest. Making its own bed, it falls asleep in the
dark, wakes up under a lamp or the sun.

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