3 Cink Diction
Author’s Note This is my diction analysis essay final over the song “America the Beautiful” composed by Katharine Lee Bates and melody by Samuel Ward. I have gone through and made sure I wasn’t constantly repeating myself. I have also spent lots of time of furthering my explanations and the significance to what the composer has said. I hope that I have elaborated enough and that my paper is now well written.
AP Lang Comp, Pd. 3
19 January 2015
Many songs use different catchy strategies to portray an image. There’s not too many composers that do it better than Katharine Bates and Samuel Ward in their song “America the
Beautiful.” Bates’s detailed explanations goes perfectly with Ward’s melody to tell about the beauty of America from “sea to shining sea.” She uses vivid adjectives to draw the audience’s attention to each individual line as well as the stanza as a whole, along with specific word choices, and repetition. The first and most important way language is used in the song is through the descriptive words Bates chooses. Her main focus for this piece of writing is to create her image of how beautiful America is. Her work with description is evident in the first stanza: “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!” (Bates 14). Hearing this creates the image of neverending blue skies with enormous clouds hovering over the beautiful golden grain that sways in the wind until it reaches the towering purple mountains. This is effective because, without using elegant and detailed words, she would have constructed a poor piece that did little to inform or create the image for someone who hasn’t witnessed all of nature’s natural and historic beauties. If she would have chose other words such as, “O beautiful for big blue skies, for fields of wheat, For high mountains Above the planted plain!” Then she wouldn’t have created the same visual appeal as her descriptive version where one can literally “see” what she does in their mind as they hear the song.
Another way that Bates uses language is through her word choice. Bates uses adjectives that not only explain the scene, but create the scene as if the audience is there. For example, the fifth stanza begins with: “O beautiful for halcyon skies” (Bates 33). By using the word
“halcyon” it doesn’t limit its meaning like if she would have simply put “peaceful.” This leaves the door open to any secondary meaning that could come from “halcyon” such as rich, wealthy, prosperous, calm, happy, and carefree. By using words that have multiple, yet similar