Figures of Speech in The Gift of India OR Poetic Devices in The Gift of India

This poem contains a number of figures of speech namely Personification, Simile, Metaphor, Alliteration, Oxymoron, and Rhetoric. So let us take a look at each of these figures of speech in The Gift of India one by one. 

Personification in The Gift of India

It is a figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstract ideas are invested with the attributes of living beings. The most evident example of personification in this poem is observed when the the country India is given the emotions and attributes of a mother. The whole poem is narrated from the perspective of a mother who laments the loss of her sons but in the same time, is proud of their contributions to live up to their global commitments. The entire poem is narrated in the first person narrative. For example, she calls the Indian soldiers her “Priceless treasures” torn from her breast. Other  instances are of personification are –

“ Remember the blood of my martyred sons”
“ Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?”


Metaphor in The Gift of India

Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a comparison between two different things is implied, but not clearly stated.
For instance, in this poem, the Indian soldiers are compared to “Priceless treasures”.


Simile in The Gift of India

It is a figure of speech in which a similarity between two different objects is stated explicitly, using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’.
For example, the gathered dead bodies of Indian soldiers in their graves are compared to pearls in their shells.
“Gathered like pearls in their alien graves”
“ Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands”
“They are strewn like blossoms move down by chance”

Alliteration in The Gift of India

Alliteration is the close repetition of consonant sounds in a sentence.
For example,
Silent they sleep…”
Scattered like shells…”
“They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands”


Rhetorical Question in The Gift of India

Rhetorical question is a question asked in order to create a dramatic impact or make a point rather than to get an answer. An instance of rhetoric can be seen in the line, “Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?”

6. Oxymoron – It is a figure of speech in which two contradictory terms appear together in a sentence. For example:
“ And the far sad glorious vision I see”
If you feel that some of the poetic devices in The Gift of India is missing and worth a mention, kindly share those in the comments section and we will include them in our list here.