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A clear understanding of the poem requires that reference be made to Pandora’s box of gifts. Closly related to the Pandora’s box myth and also aiding the understanding of The Pully, is the biblical account of the warning given to Adam and Eve by God in the garden of Eden, not to eat a particular kind of fruit out of the abundance of fruit in the garden. But they disobey and this led to their eviction from the garden. Also, the  poem focuses on the relationship between God and man. Herbert uses the metaphor of the pulley to talk about man’s dependence on God and the fact that without God man is nothing. ‘The Pulley’, the first part narrates the creation story, while the second part describe endowment of man with virtues like riches, honour, etc. In the third part, God finds a way to retain man’s interest in Him by giving him everything but rest.

THEMES

The following themes could be found in the poem.

  • The superiority of God, the all-knowing God, over man.
  • The frailty of the human mind.
  • God desires that man should look up to Him
  • The reason for man’s restlessness.
  • Man must accept his limitations.
  • God’s love for man is limitless.

 

POETIC DEVICES IN THE POEM

The following figures of speech and sound devices are apparent in the poem.

  • Alliteration: This is found in line 6 ‘so strength’ and line 7 ‘repining restlessness’
  • Assonance: This is found in line 8 ‘When almost all was out……..’
  • Biblical Allusion: The poem is an example of biblical allusion as all its content allude to the creation of the world and man in Genesis 1-2.
  • Consonance: In line 2 ‘blessing standing by’.
  • Personification: Two things, goodness and weariness, are endowed with human attribute in lines 19-20. ‘If goodness lead him not, yet weariness/May toss him to my breast’.

 

ASSIGNMENT

  • ‘The Pulley’ is an example of metaphysical poetry. Discuss
  • Identify and discuss the major themes in the poem.

 

See also

CROSSING THE BAR BY ALFRED LORD TENNYSON

THE AVIL

THE PANIC OF GROWING OLDER BY LENRIE PETER

THE DINNING TABLE BY GBANABAM HALLOWELL

Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara

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