We have been analyzing the poem “A birthday” by Cristina Rosetti. We had to do an activity in pairs about the poem, here is mine!
a. What is the theme?
b. What is the tone?
Happy, joyful, soft, calm, tranquil, peaceful, reflective, relaxing and positive.
c. What is the main difference between the two stanzas?
In the first stanza her heart is compared to nature, but in the second one it’s compared to man made objects.
d. How are the similes in the poem appropriate for the romantic longings the speaker feels?
Some of the similes that Christina uses in the poem are related to her feelings. She is trying to say that she feels complete, fulfilled with happiness, overjoyed. That she finds herself in a good moment of life, she is calmed and satisfied.
Most of the similes in the poem that she uses are about her feelings. Shes expressing herself through words that help her express herself. Christina is happy, she is living a happy moment which she finds herself happy, overjoyed and in peace.
In our opinion she is expressing her feelings very well. She gives us the feeling she is happy, joyful and enjoying the moment. “My heart is like a rainbow shell that paddles in a halcyon sea”. Her heart is very tranquil, feeling really great, without worries. Her heart is feeling so well she describes it like a rainbow, using the perfection and symmetry of it to compare her heart. She is navigating through an idyllic sea with her delighted heart.
e. How is the metaphor of the birthday appropriate?
Earthly life and ‘life after life’: The images of new life in the natural world in A Birthday can be seen to allude to new life after death.
f. Make a list of religious symbols. What do they mean in the poem?
A singing bird: Christina compares her heart to a singing bird. The singing bird symbolizes God, he is always present in her heart and she can listen to him.
Watered shoot: It symbolizes the promise of God, that he will guide us and always provide our needs. It also alludes to the holy water.
An apple tree: the appearance of this word may allude to the first humans in the garden of Eden, where they lived in peace with nature and water and one another. Also it is related to the biblical concept of the tree of life.
Rainbow: Christina perceives that God’s promises are being fulfilled and her life is as perfect as the rainbow.