Sunday, November 27, 2016

Posted for Charles Lu

Charles Lu
Dale Carrico; Rhetoric 103A
GSI: Jerilyn Sambrooke
26 November 2016
Figurative Analysis: Sappho 10
Just like the sweet apple, reddening at the highest
branch, missed by the apple pickers –
But no,
They did not miss you!
They just couldn’t reach so
You’re just like the mountain
trodden by the shepherds
next to the purple
            Sappho was a Greek poet, whose work frequently expressed her views on love, as well as her homoerotic love for another.  In her texts, she frequently used figurative language to emphasize and enhance her expression of love and admiration.  One of her poems, Fragment 10 Sweet Apple, likens her object of desire to both a fruit and a flower, to show how others overlook her object of love.
            Here, Sappho opens up by stating “You’re just like the sweet apple…” (Sappho 1-2), creating the simile likening her to an apple, the apple long being symbolic of a young maiden, with their maidenhood ripe for their lover.  Sappho uses this simile to show the reader how she views this other woman as this symbolic, ripe fruit which she desires.  Sappho then describes the fruit, and symbolically her lover, as ‘reddening’, comparing how an apple reddens as it ripens to how a maiden’s cheek’s will redden as she falls under the desire of others.  Sappho then emphasizes how desirable this fruit, her, is by using enjambment to describe how she hangs from the ‘highest branch’, a branch that grows so high that not even the constraints of the paper can contain it, and it grows so far it reaches into a second line.  This is reinforced by Sappho stating that “They did not miss you! They just couldn’t reach so high” (Sappho 5-7).  This phrase shows both how highly desired she is, but also how the other chasers don’t even try to reach for her.
            The second passage then compares her to a ‘mountain Hyacinthe’.  Here, the heights are juxtaposed, as the apple lays far above and out of reach, compared to a Hyacinthe flower which lays at the feet.  Yet, while it could be said that the other suitors were unable to reach the apple because of how high it was, Sappho writes that this Hyacinthe is “…trodden by the shepherds next to the purple blossoms” (11-13).  In the previous passage, Sappho stated that the apple was not picked not because it couldn’t be reached, but because nobody sought it, in this passage she write how the Hyacinthe has been overlooked for the purple blossoms.  And who is it that overlooks the Hyacinth? Mere shepherds she writes, indicating that the people who trample the Hyacinthe, and metaphorically overlook her lover, are peasants who can’t appreciate the beauty.
            Throughout Fragment 10, Sappho uses figurative tropes and schemes to both praise and emphasize the desirability of her love, and also indicate that others overlook this beautiful object.  From the high-hidden apple, to the earthly Hyacinthe, Sappho’s language is able to capture all essences of these objects and compare it to her lover.

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