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What Figurative Language Is Shown in the Poem "Forgetfulness"?


Figurative language is the use of imaginative expressions to add strength, creativity or intrigue to literature. "Forgetfulness" is a poem by Billy Collins that describes the evolving process of forgetting things that were once important as you grow older. In the poem, Collins uses metaphors, hyperbole, imagery, personification and allusion, among other figurative elements.

Figurative Examples

In the last line of the second stanza, Collins makes the statement "to a little fishing village where there are no phones." This line is an analogy comparing a fishing village with no communication devices to deeper recesses of the brain where you can't recall things. The third stanza, line two includes personification -- "watched the quadratic equation pack its bag." In this line, Collins gives human characteristics -- "packing" a bag -- to an inanimate object, the quadratic equation. Stanza six, line three contains the phrase "well on your own way to oblivion," which is an example of hyperbole, an exaggeration so great as to be unbelievable.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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