Discuss the use of figurative language in "Naming of Parts."
While this poem contains plenty of simile, metaphor, and personification, these figurative devices are contained within specific moments of the poem. The officer's sober and authoritative lecture on rifle parts contains only literal phrasing, whereas figurative language emerges during his description of the natural world. The use of figurative language lends those descriptions a poetic beauty, in contrast with the prosaic list of gun parts. It also implies an interconnectedness between many parts of the natural world, in contrast to the forced compartmentalization with which the soldiers are urged to treat their guns and the war itself.
How is repetition used in this poem?
Repetition, especially of the phrase "today we have the naming of parts," emphasizes the futility and absurdity of the speaker's goal. The first use of the phrase, in the poem's opening line, shows that he has a clear and inflexible agenda and wishes to accomplish a specific task; he repeats the phrase three times in the first stanza alone, as if to emphasize his determination not to budge from that chosen agenda. But as the poem continues, it becomes clear that the speaker is becoming distracted. His focus on the rifle's parts wavers, and he finds himself, seemingly against his will, dwelling on the natural world. By the time the phrase "today we have the naming of parts" is repeated in the closing line, it seems hollow and ridiculous.