Carefully read the following passage from “Owls” by Mary Oliver. Then write an essay in which you analyze how Oliver’s style conveys the complexity of her response to nature.
In her piece, “Owls” (1995), Oliver shows the complexity of her writing style by using strategies such as sentence length, and anaphora triggering emotional appeal to show her reader how the animal world and one that human beings consume themselves in, are very much connected.
Oliver carefully uses syntax to show her idea about nature evolved throughout the passage. Most of the sentences in Oliver’s work are rather lengthy, but this changes towards the end of the first paragraph, and is repeated throughout the text. When Oliver writes, “I have walked with prudent caution down paths at twilight when the dogs were puppies.” and then follows this sentence with, “ I know this bird”, as the second to last sentence of this paragraph, a clear shift in Oliver’s thinking is shown. The author has shown a shift in her thinking towards the animal kingdom. Her mindset changed from astonishment of impressive qualities in animals living in the wilderness, to a deep sense of understanding of these creatures. Oliver utilizes these staccato sentences towards the end of each paragraph because she realizes she understands these animals because she in turn is exactly like them. This in turn plays into the fact the tactics, ambitions, and needs and hopes of humans and animals aren’t that different from each other.
After this, the author moves on to use anapora to enhance her reflectionary writing style. Oliver shows this is in passage by writing, “I’m struck, I’m taken, I’m conquered, I’m washed into it, as though it was a river, full of dreaming and idleness”. The phrase i’m in this context has so much meaning because they are story declaratory statements that Oliver is using after realizing how frightening her relationship to rature is. She realizes that the power of nature is so overwhelming and can invoke such an emotional reaction. This affects her response to nature, realizing that she is connected to something like nature, that is so meaningful.
Overall, Oliver’s use of syntax which was influenced by realization of the authors connecting to nature, calling for the use of short transformative statements. Anaphora was also used to show how impactful,and overwhelming Oliver’s relationship with nature made her feel.