Storm Warnings Analysis Essay Example
Adrienne Rich’s poem “Storm Warnings” questions the purpose of warnings while subconsciously alluding to the “storms” in her personal life. As the physical storm draws near, The speaker’s turmoil grows. The speaker uses chronological organization and precise details to reveal the literal and metaphorical meaning of external and internal storms.
The speaker opens the poem with imagery to show the threat of an incoming storm. The “winds walking overhead” (3) and “the glass falling all afternoon” (1) are indications that the storm has been going on for a while and will only get worse. As the storm continues, the speaker begins to prepare for the worst by walking from “window to closed window” (6). The first two stanzas represent the buildup of an actual storm coming and the preparation the author takes. The speaker is a “silent core of waiting,” (9) as the storm continues. In the middle of the poem the tone shifts from anxious to helplessness. The speaker says, “Weather abroad and weather in the heart alike come on regardless of prediction” (13-14). This line shows the metaphorical storm (“weather in the heart” ) and how it is hard to anticipate emotions that come without notice. This line is the shift in the poem that mimics the shift in actual storm between its buildup and its aftermath.
The last two stanzas represent the aftermath of the storm. The internal emotions are unpredictable and “we can only close the shutters” (21). The closing of the shutters represents the helplessness felt during these “internal storms.” The speaker tries to “set a match” (23) to candles, which symbolize hope. The speaker makes clear that during these difficult times, sometimes it is best to “draw the curtains” (22) and let the storms past. It is the “sole defense” against the emotional storms faced. In these final stanzas, the speaker explains that sitting and waiting for troubles to end is something that she has “learned to do” (25) while living in “troubled regions” (28). The details the speaker uses in the second half of the poem explains that internal storms cannot be prevented, but precautions can be taken from them.
The title completes the poem because the warnings of the actual storm are the glass falling and the winds “walking overhead” (3), but there is no warning for the emotional storms that come. The speaker’s organization and details conveys the message that sometimes the best way to get through an emotional storm is to persevere. Emotions are dubious and are hard to oversee and adjust.