ChristinaRossetti’s poem, ABirthday,is a narration of the anticipation for her upcoming birthday.Rossetti uses stylistic devices like symbolism to help the reader tounderstand the issues that she raises from her point of view. Forexample, she contends that her “heart…like…singingbird" (Line 1). This expression helps the reader to gaininsights into how excited she is because singing birds are alwayscheerful and full of energy. Moreover, Christina’s poem is dividedinto two. The first part reveals her excitement for her approachingparty while the second part reveals the items that the author desiresfor her birthday. Rossetti uses various stylistic devices to help thereader to gain deeper insights into her thought process.
Inthe first part of the poem, Rossetti strives to enable her audienceto understand the pleasure that she feels by using comparison.Christina compares the feelings that she has with the usual elementsthat represent happiness in life. For example, she compares herdelight with a singing bird. The word “singing” inspires ideas ofjoy these notions are heightened by the use of the word “nest.”The concept of a nest brings a picture of fertility and safety to thefore. Thus, Christina brings that suggestion that her feelings willcontinue to grow to the surface. Moreover, the phrase "water`dshoot" indicates something that can grow. Nonetheless, a wateredshoot is rather small and frail thus, Rossetti creates an image of alarger and more fertile element: An Apple tree. The tree represents abroader outlook of life. Christina says that its “boughsare bent with thickset fruit” (Line 3). The poet mystifies herfeelings by comparing them with a “rainbow shell” and a “halcyonsea” (Line 4 – 5). The rainbow symbolizes the idea that naturepreserves human existence, which means that Christina is confidentthat she will enjoy her birthday. In the last stanza, Rosetticontends that her heart is "gladder than all these" (Line7). This expression reveals that the joy that she feels cannot beexpressed through words.
Thesecond part of the poem reveals a shift in the mood of the author.Rosetti begins to insist that she should be given some things. Forinstance, she demands that she wants a "dais of silk and down"(Line 9). Such an utterance leads the reader to assume that Christinais a wealthy woman. This viewpoint is emphasized by the precision ofher proceeding statement. She says, "Carve…in doves andpomegranates…and peacocks with…hundred eyes (Line 11 – 12). Such a demand can only mean that she has the resources to get whatshe wants.The following stanzas reflect the same notion since sheasks for items like gold, silver grapes, andsilver fleurs-de-lys should be incorporated into her birthday present(Line 12 – 15). Rossetti, through her demands, enables the readerto understand the intensification of her feelings since herrequirements move from ordinary desires to rare and exotic wants.
Ina recap of the above discussion, Rossetti`s choice of words revealsthat her upcoming party is not a regular birthday it is more like anevent that will define her life. The use of stylistic devices likeimagery, symbolism, and comparison enable the reader to associatewith Christina`s feelings more easily. In essence, as one reads thepoem, he feels the intensity of Rosetti`s anticipation for herforthcoming birthday party, as discussed above.
Rossetti,C. (2016). ABirthday by Christina Rossetti. PoetryFoundation.Retrieved 16 December 2016, fromhttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44992