Composition

This part of our study guide on “Strange Fruit” is dedicated to outer composition (stanzas, verses, graphical expression) and inner composition (beginning, subdivision, course). The outer composition analysis helps you understand the form of “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol and the inner composition analysis its content.

Outer composition

“Strange Fruit” is composed of three 4-line stanzas also known as quatrains. The poem is written in the form of a nursery rhyme, meaning that the end rhyme is organized in couplets, like most children’s poems and songs:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. (ll. 1-4)

This type of rhyme also gives the lyrical text a bouncing rhythm which creates a powerful contrast with the topic of the poem—death by hanging – and the theme of racism.

Additional musicality is created through alliterations (consecutive or nearby words which begin with t...

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