Critical Essay on Mary Oliver's Writing Style

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Vanderbilt University
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The jellyfish, a dangerously stunning underwater creature, can adequately symbolize the phenomenon that is nature. Nobody denies the medusa of its attractive features, such as, its dazzling pink color, elegant frame, and most importantly, its transparent body that displays running electricity. However, touch it underwater and experience the wrath of its devious abilities. Its colorful stingers have the power to inject an electrical toxin into their prey. It can kill.

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Two-Faced Personality Nature in Mary Oliver's Writings

Furthermore, Mary Oliver, the writer of Owls, successfully delineates the two-faced personality nature is affiliated with. In this rich excerpt, Oliver makes it a priority to point out that nature can be both miraculous and corrupt at the same time. Like the jellyfish, nature can bring immobilizing happiness, but it can also be complex, and bring forth death.

From the get-go, Oliver uses Vonnegut-like imagery to create a distinct contrast between the terrifying and the fascinating parts of nature. For instance, when Oliver describes the great horned owl and the fields full of roses. According to Oliver, the great horned owl has a hooked beak that makes heavy, crisp, and breathy snapping sounds, and a set of razor-tipped toes that rasp the limb. Not only that, but this mystical creature is characterized as merciless, and as a dark creature that would eat the whole world if it could. The fields full of roses, on the other hand, are used to symbolize happiness. They are described as sweet, lovely, and red and pink and white tents of softness and nectar. Through Oliver's creative use of descriptive imagery, she begins to explain the incomprehensible mysteries of nature.

In the same fashion, Oliver uses vivid and flamboyant diction to emphasize nature's intricate ways. To describe the darkness of nature, Oliver uses words such as hopelessness, headless bodies, and immutable force. On the contrary, for the awing parts of nature, Oliver's passage includes words like the exquisite, luminous wanderer, and sheer rollicking glory. As a result, her impressive style presents a clear image of how Oliver is standing at the edge of mystery, and ultimately, conquered.


Finally, Oliver uses her intimate appreciation for nature to relate to the audience and drive her to claim home. First, Oliver uses an anaphora to talk about the field full of roses. Oliver begins eight consecutive phrases with the word I. Thus, implying the impact nature has on her as an individual, and alarming the reader of the love she has towards this prodigy. Oliver then acknowledges that the world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly on the hunt is the world in which she lives too. Correspondingly, she mentions that nature's curiosities involve the audience of this excerpt, as well as everyone else on planet earth.

Indeed, in this lyrical excerpt, Mary Oliver uses her impressive style to describe how nature can be convoluted, charming, and over-powering. One can't help to acknowledge the creative way Oliver uses the English language to successfully contrast the positive and negative parts of the environment. In addition, Oliver strives to make her nuanced writing an allegory for the complexity of nature. When looking at the big picture, it is easy to see how Oliver's writing may exhibit to all how one might share whatever it is they feel passionate about.

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