Language and style

Language and the style are relevant analytical elements in the analysis of poetry because these aspects can help you better understand lyrical texts like “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol and the author’s intention when writing it.

Playing with the language

The poet plays with language in this poem through sarcasm, irony, and metaphors. Metaphors are used to depict the bodies hanging from the trees as “strange fruit” (l. 1, l. 4), “the fruit” (l. 10) or a “strange and bitter crop” (l. 13). These metaphors make the poem more subtle and implicit as it leaves readers to guess what the poet is describing. These metaphors suggest that the local white people see the dead black men as part of the natural landscape, and therefore of the natural order of things. The poet uses this to criticize the attitude of white people in the Southern United States.

Sarcasm and irony are created by the contrast between the “Pastoral scene of the gallant south” and the actual violence the poem implies of two people being killed by hanging and left in the trees.

Tense of the verbs

The poem is delivered in the present tense. What is important to note is that the poem is only constructed using three verbs in the active voice: “bear” (l. 1), “is” (l. 10) and “is” (l. 13). The rest of the verbs are either used in the in the gerund participle or in the infinitive, which helps suggest a sense of cont...

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