Guided Questions for Eavan Boland’s "The Oral Tradition" Stanza 1: "Whatever."



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Guided Questions for Eavan Boland’s “The Oral Tradition”

Stanza 1: “Whatever.” It’s a word that I hate (but only when it’s spoken in a certain tone). What kind of tone does “whatever” give to Stanza 1?

Stanza II: Metaphor. Words = “brisk herbs of language”. How so?

Stanza III, IV: Light and Texture. What word choices contribute to the atmosphere the poet has created here?


Stanza VII, VIII: A New Voice. These lines are in quotation marks. Who’s speaking?

Stanza IX: Interruption. Why is this stanza here? What does it do in the poem?

Stanza XI: Bringing the Outside In. . . We now have our third setting in this short poem (room, story, rainy night). What’s the point (or the effect)?

Stanza XII, XIII: . . . and the Inside Out.

Stanza XIV: And Yet Another Setting. What is this fourth setting? (Hint: it harkens back to the title.)

Stanza XV: Amber. What is this image supposed to mean? What’s amber?

Stanza XVII: Echoes. I definitely hear the echo of another famous (American) poem here. Any guesses?




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