The Poem “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist who has received several awards and prizes. The author was born in 1998, and during this time, Gorman managed to become a widely known activist. He is the youngest poet who read the poem during a presidential inauguration. In the verse The Hill We Climb, Amanda Gorman was able to display the difficult period in the history of the United States, which the country is now experiencing. The message and the primary purpose of the poem are to highlight the population’s patriotic mood and represent the necessity of uniting and overcoming all the challenges the country will face.
The writer emphasized that the country is now entering a new difficult chapter in its history, but the challenges will make the country stronger. Finally, Amanda Gorman stated that the main task is to look to the future, not to the past. Using a variety of stylistic devices, the author was able to convey the historical context of the work. In other words, one may notice how the writer uses metaphors and similes to refer to certain historical events in the country. Among common techniques is applying homophones, homographs, and synonyms. In addition, Gorman used literary allusions and references to endow the message with a deeper meaning and emphasize the ideology of the poem. In addition, it is important to note that the verse was written on the day of the events in the Capitol when the clashes took place. It gives a certain semantic load and subtext to work.
In one of the first rows of the poem, one may notice the use of alliteration. Thus, in the line «We’ve braved the belly of the beast,» there is a repeating use of the letter «b» (Gorman 1). The same technique appears in the line «To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man» and «In this truth, in this faith, we trust» (Gorman 1). One may notice that these lines have a certain semantic load, which is enhanced by sound expressiveness. The main message of these lines is the idea of equality, and the struggle for truth, which should attract the reader’s special attention.
This idea can be traced throughout the verse, namely the notion of equality and unity. Thereby, various geographic locations were mentioned, which in the past participated in clashes with each other. In addition, the author noted that all people, taking into account any of their features, should have equal rights and be united. This semantic idea has a hidden hint that separation is a weakness, and it has possible negative consequences. The motive that only a united large country has the ability to overcome all the challenges thrown to it is clearly traced.
Further, one may notice how Amanda Gorman indicated that past events had left negative consequences for the country. In the line «a country that is bruised but the whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free,» the writer mentioned how harmful were the past accidents (Gorman 1). That is, past events left bruises on the country, which argues for the negative aftermath. It may include wars, conflicts, riots, revolutions, and other major events. The underlying sense lies in their destructive effect in economic terms, however, some ideas that appear later become the basis for development.
Besides, it is worth noting the historical allusions in the poem, due to which the author was able to convey the main idea. The line «We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another» is related to the historical context, namely to previous wars (Gorman 1). It may include both the Civil War and all other wars. Thus, it can be interpreted both on a national scale and on a global scale. However, the underlying idea remains the same: only by being united are people able to overcome all difficulties. Similarly, by being consolidated, the United States will be able to develop and deal with challenges. Instead of using one’s hands for weapons, one should use hands to help each other and to build favorable conditions for existence and development.
Talking about how the poem made me feel, including any historical, cultural, or literary allusions or its style, I may notice that it impressed me significantly. This is due to the fact that, in addition to a variety of stylistic devices, there is a broad meaning in verse. As already indicated, due to references and allusions, the author was able to convey the main idea of unity. However, these references give the verse a meaning that distinguishes this work from many others. In order to grasp all the links and collect a complete picture, it is necessary to know the history of the country, which formulates the aspect of education. The style of the poem gives a special semantic expressiveness to work, in combination with the stylistic techniques used in the poem. All this makes this work not only a way of expressing a certain idea but an attempt to convey some warnings to the population.
The Figurative Speech
The role of figurative speech in a poem is significant, and one may notice that it was used frequently. Figurative speech, with the help of some freedom of action, helps the author to represent the main idea and intention completely. This is an auxiliary tool that, under proper application, completes the semantic picture. However, figurative speech should be used subtly where appropriate not to add too much abstraction. In Amanda Gorman’s figurative speech complemented with stylistic devices was appropriately applied to completely convey meaning.
One may notice the use of figurative language at the beginning of the poem. Thus, in the line «The loss we carry, a sea we must wade,» the author applies a phrase to wade a sea (Gorman 1). This phrase means to overcome obstacles, struggle with challenges, or do something difficult. It is connected with the main idea of the poem, which includes the need to unite and overcome difficulties. Certainly, it is impossible to ford the sea, but it is used for comparison as a figurative speech to show how difficult it can be to deal with invocations.
Further, I would like to highlight the usage of figurative language that impressed me due to its expression depth. Namely, the line «And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it,» which implies several meanings (Gorman 1). The main sense of this line, in my opinion, contains rewards for hard work and struggle with difficulties. In addition, the author emphasizes that after the bad patch, there is always a positive one, like dawn after night. The fact that the dawn came before one knew about it formulates how close sometimes the reward is, however, one does not know about it and gives up. It impressed me by how many meanings can be found in one phrase, which is similar to a whole book.
The next line, which is worth mentioning, formulates the writer’s skill to represent a broad sense in several words. Namely, the line «So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us» articulates the universal rule of any country’s success (Gorman 1). Firstly, it formulates the basic principle of the successful existence of not only countries but any community. Namely, the fact that one should look and strive forward, that is, towards development. However, one should not look between us, which means not to look for reasons for stagnation within the community, however, in this poem, it has a broader meaning. It articulates the idea of equality and anti-racism since one should not look around, that is, at an environment that can differ from one. On the contrary, people should look ahead and move together towards a common goal, such as development and well-being.
To conclude, the author was able to convey the fundamental idea of the existence of the country, namely the need for unity. However, one might notice how Amanda Gorman has given each line a broader meaning, allowing the reader to search for their own ideas. Stylistic devices, allusions, and references are effective tools by which the author emphasizes the importance of the main idea. The main goal of the poem is to call the population to patriotism and unity in order to overcome difficulties together.
Gorman, Amanda. The Hill We Climb.