Literary Analysis Essay on Dragonfly by Louise Bogan

Published: 2021-08-16
873 words
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Middlebury College
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Dragonfly by Louise Bogan is a poem that uses imagery and symbolism to bring the attention of the reader. The poem is a crafted masterpiece of literal dragonfly's body; the poet uses literal language to portray the image of a dragonfly body. The poem adopts the features of a good poem that has an inner meaning to the audience. The poem is a representation of the current environment of a man. The poem uses language that relates to the reader in capturing their attention. It is in my opinion that I consider the poem a great piece of literature representation on written and spoken words. This paper seeks the reader's response and understanding of Dragonfly by Louise Bogan. The use of dragonfly by Louise Bogan in his poem is a hidden symbol of something more significant.

Personal Opinion

The poem by Louise Bogan is a double representation of the literal dragonfly and the reader of the poem. The poem uses linguistic techniques that seem to provoke the mind of the reader in understanding how the real world works. The use of you' in the poem shows the double comparison between the dragonfly and the reader. The poem addresses the dragonfly which is not being mentioned in the poem; however, the poem also addresses the reader of the poem who takes note on the real world. The description given in the poem by the poet focuses on the comparison of the life of a person and that of a dragonfly. The body of the dragonfly being referred to by the poem symbolizes the human life which is later losing purpose and fades away soon than expected. The imagery used by the poet ensures the reader gets the message that is being symbolized by the dragonfly.

The opening words, you are made out of nothing' shows the vigor used in the poem to describe the body of a dragonfly. I have come to understand the body of a dragonfly is made of three parts as any other insects but it has huge wings which enable its movement. The fly may seem as if it has nothing in its body but it is attractive in the way it connects its physical appearance with the beauty of the environment. Line 3 talks about the great eyes of the dragonfly which dominates its body. The round compound eyes enable its existence and adapting to its environment. This is to symbolize the readers understanding of their life and existence in the real world. In my view, the poem draws the attention of the reader to the day to day life of humankind where they may seem to possess nothing but have something unique which steers their lives ahead in a pleasant way.

In reading this poem, one needs to take the form of a dragonfly to understand the intention of the poet. The life expectancy of the dragonfly is very short, the poem talks about the environment in which it has to wander in but before it settles the earth repels it. This is the same case in which the reader sees, the life of a person is very short. After reading the poem, I can conclude that the dragonfly life is targeting the reader. Humanity has to struggle now and then through hunger and his effort to exist. However, life takes a blow in him by the limited time one has to live. There is no time to enjoy and have a healthy life apart from the day's struggles and problems. "The earth repels you" (line 9) shows the dragonfly has no place to rest after its wandering between the water and the air. It is a reflection of one's life in this world where we struggle day in day out but not enjoy the fruits of our labor due to the challenges that we experience every day.

The choice of the body of a dragonfly by the poet shows the comparison of the insect's life and that of the readers. I can comprehend the environment in which the dragonfly survives in, the struggles the predator is adapted to and the end of a life without enjoying its existence. It is a reflection of the summer season which ends with the life of a dragonfly as expressed by the poet. The flourishing body that later turns into husks leaving a memory behind with no permanent impact. According to me life is short, and everyone should make the best out of it when the life ends there will be no warning just like in the life of a dragonfly


All in all, the use of a natural living thing brings out the best out of this poem to the reader. The poem can be related to the present life of a human being which brings the theme of simplicity as shown in the emptiness of a dragonfly's body. In my view, the poem has relayed the intended message by the poet to its audience in a skillful way of literature. The literal example used in the poem brings out the best intentions of the poem to learn life lessons.


Peterson, D. L. (1983). The Poetry of Louise Bogan. The Southern Review, 19(1), 73.

Sartwell, C. (1991). Substance and Significance: A Theory of Poetry. Philosophy and Literature, 15(2), 246-259.

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