The Revenant Poem Analysis

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About this sample


Words: 536 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 13, 2024

Words: 536|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 13, 2024

In the poem "The Revenant" by Billy Collins, the speaker encounters a ghostly figure that seems to haunt the present moment. Through vivid imagery and evocative language, Collins delves into the themes of memory, loss, and the passage of time. This essay will analyze the poem's structure, language, and imagery, providing a deeper understanding of its meaning and implications.

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The Revenant opens with a haunting scene of a ghostly figure, "an old man with a fishing rod," standing in the speaker's kitchen. This image immediately sets a tone of unease and mystery, as the reader is drawn into the speaker's encounter with this spectral presence. The use of the word "revenant" itself conveys a sense of return or revival, hinting at the theme of memory and the past coming back to haunt the present.

The poem's structure is also worth examining, as Collins utilizes a free verse form with varied line lengths and enjambment. This lack of a strict rhyme or meter allows the poem to flow naturally, mirroring the speaker's stream of consciousness as he grapples with the presence of the revenant. The lack of a fixed structure also reflects the ephemeral nature of memory and the fluidity of time, as the past and present merge and shift within the poem.

Furthermore, Collins' use of language and imagery is particularly striking in The Revenant. The description of the revenant as "an old man with a fishing rod" conjures a sense of nostalgia and longing, as the act of fishing often symbolizes a connection to the natural world and a simpler way of life. This image creates a sense of yearning for the past, as the speaker grapples with the passage of time and the loss of cherished memories.

Additionally, the poem is rife with sensory imagery, from the "scent of leaves" to the "sound of a screen door slamming." These details serve to ground the reader in the speaker's world, creating a vivid and immersive experience. The sensory richness of the poem also underscores the theme of memory, as the speaker is transported back to moments from his past through these evocative details.

Moreover, the implications of this imagery and language are profound, as The Revenant delves into the complexities of memory and the ways in which the past shapes our present experiences. The presence of the revenant serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life and the inevitability of loss, as the speaker grapples with the ghosts of his own past. The poem also raises questions about the nature of memory and its impact on our sense of self, as the speaker is forced to confront the ghosts of his own past.

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In conclusion, The Revenant is a powerful exploration of memory, loss, and the passage of time. Through its evocative language, vivid imagery, and haunting structure, the poem offers a poignant reflection on the ways in which the past continues to shape our present experiences. By delving into these themes, Collins creates a work that is both emotionally resonant and intellectually provocative, inviting readers to contemplate the complexities of memory and the enduring power of the past. Ultimately, The Revenant stands as a testament to the enduring relevance of poetry as a medium for exploring the human experience.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Revenant Poem Analysis. (2024, March 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
“The Revenant Poem Analysis.” GradesFixer, 13 Mar. 2024,
The Revenant Poem Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Revenant Poem Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 13 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from:
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