In William Shakespeare’s sonnet, My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun, the speaker aims to describe his lover truthfully and honestly without falsely comparing her to objects or ideas that are usually associated with romance and love. During the majority of the poem it seems like he is making rude and insulting comparisons. He says her eyes are not extraordinarily pretty, her hair is like wires, and her breath smells. One of the harsher things he said was about the color of her skin, which he describes as “dun” (line 3). According to dictionary.com, dun is a “grayish-brown color”. It does not seem very nice to be calling your lover’s skin dun. Towards the end of the poem, he gives her a slight compliment, stating that he likes to hear her speak, but music is more pleasant to listen to still. The speaker goes on slowly saying nicer things about her. The last lines compensate for all of the negative things he has said about his lover. He states he thinks she is as wonderful as all of the other women and that she does not need to be exaggerated and over beautified because he loves her just the way she simply is.
When I consider how my light is spent by John Milton is a shorter poem than William Shakespeare’s sonnet. Rather than describing the lover, the speaker discusses himself and how most of his light, literally his sight, has been used up before half of his life is over. He thinks his lack of sight is useless and he wants to serve God, but does not know if God will use his talents because he is blind. He starts talking about patience, personifying by the capital “P” and giving it dialogue. Patience responds to the speakers worries about serving God, “God doth not need/Either man’s work or His own gifts,” (lines 9-10) and reassures him that even if he cannot serve God, God has a lot of other people so it is not a problem. The speaker in this poem seeks faith in the daily struggles his lack of sight burdens him with.
The excerpt “One Word” written by Elizabeth Gilbert is about a woman who is asked to describe her life in one word. Before traveling to Rome, she stayed in Venice. She and her friend’s husband are talking about the differences of cities and how one word can tell people a lot about how the people are and what it is like there. “SEX” is the word for Rome, saying it is a fun place and New York City’s is “ACHIEVE”, hinting to the business world there and also to the continuous rise of celebrities. Once asked what her word is, she thinks of and rejects multiple choices, having an internal debate with herself. She has different words for the different times in her life and places she has been to. This challenge to generate a word shows her struggle to find herself and how her surroundings and societies have influenced her.