Repetition and Reactance in Graham’s "Underneath" Poems

Roghayeh Farsi


The present paper gives a detailed analysis and interpretation of 16 poems in Jorie Graham's collection, Swarm (2000), which bear "UNDERNEATH" as their main titles. The poems are marked with different types of repetition such as graphological repetition, word, phrase, and sentential repetition, semantic repetition, and syntactic repetition. The study draws on Lakoff and Johnson's theories on metaphor and Brehm and Brehm’s reactance theory. It is argued "underneath" is a conceptual (orientational) metaphor which signifies a state of being limited, lack of control and freedom, and loss of power. The paper investigates the speaker's reactant behavior in "Underneath" poems, seeking a way to restore her lost freedom. Reactance behaviors can be skepticism, inertia, aggression, and resistance. It is concluded despite her thematic inertia, representing her submission to the oppressed state, her stylistic reactance reflected in repetitions, innovations, and disruptive diction stands for her attempts to regain her lost control.



Graham, repetition, reactance, "UNDERNEATH", poetry

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