The poem Juggler by Richard Wilbur was a war poem published in 1949. Richard Wilbur describes the performance of the Juggler and how his brilliance character affects both the audiences and himself, as an individual. In this poem, the author used some poetic elements such as imageries (the juggler and his balls), figurative languages (the personification of the balls interacting with the juggler), and tone (the playful mood of the first two stanzas and the nervousness in the last two stanzas).
Richard Wilbur uses imageries to describe the juggler and reveal what a juggler does. He writes that it takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls to create a vivid imagery description of the juggler, who is a nameless figure capable of controlling ordinary objects such as balls and plates and transforms them into toys for his show. He also shows the five red balls used by the juggler to play to symbolize the objects in the world, which would bounce back a couple of times when thrown on a hard surface but they eventually land and settles and is forgotten. In this poem, the author demonstrates how war destroys things in our world but eventually, these traumatic escapades settles and is later on forgotten. The author describes by saying that and the earth falls which represents people who were killed and the properties that were destroyed during the war.
He uses figurative language in the phrases a heaven is easier made of nothing at all and The spin of the worlds, with a gesture sure and noble. He uses the words heaven and gesture to show how juggler was playing around with two balls that represent the heaven and the world. He demonstrates that human can easily control the universe with some simple objects. People can use simple objects such as bullets and guns while in a war and could be very catastrophic. He uses the phrase Shake our gravity up to indicate that the juggler is simply playing with the gravity or even playing against it.
Finally, the author also uses tone to show the audiences the identity of the juggler and the speaker. In the beginning of the poem, the tone seems to be exciting, peaceful, and cheerful through expression and imageries, such as the ways of lightness and our hearts from brilliance. These phrases represent the peaceful time people had after the war ended and the jugglers personality. However, there is a change of tone in the third and fourth stanza when the jugglers performance becomes harder as the performance changes. This is evident when the author says that trades it all and he reels that heaven in. In these stanzas, the tone changes to nervousness. This change of tone shows the speakers feelings throughout his performances.
The audience develops an understanding of the performances effect through the reflection of the juggler through the speaker. The speaker develops a new appreciation for the difficult task throughout life. The last line for him we batter our hands, who has won for once over the worlds weight, illustrations to the audience that the speaker thinks that it is the efforts given that earns the applause. The imageries, figurative language, and tone in the poem create a complicated speaker that develops a new perspective of the world through the lasting impression of the juggler and his abilities to handle the intensity of the world around him.
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