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From "Dust of Snow" by Robert Frost:

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

What figure of speech, or poetic device, is used in the line, "A change of mood"?

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    What makes you think it is a figure of speech? It is just a compound noun.
    – Chenmunka
    Feb 12 at 18:18
  • @Chenmunka: I meant to say which poetic device used in this line . [ A change of mood]
    – asr09
    Feb 12 at 18:22
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    @Chenmunka's comment still holds: why do you think it's a poetic device?
    – verbose
    Feb 12 at 23:38
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There’s a straightforward double meaning (ambiguity) in this line. The word “mood” can mean something internal to a person:

mood, n., 3.a. A person’s humour, temper, or disposition at a particular time.

or external to them:

mood, n., 3.c. The pervading atmosphere or tone of a particular place, event, or period.

Oxford English Dictionary.

So we can read the line two ways: the “dust of snow” shaken down by the crow has changed the atmosphere of the place, and also changed the speaker’s feelings.

Ambiguity does not fall under the remit of “figure of speech”, which usually encompasses devices in which words are not to be taken literally. But it is an important poetic device nonetheless:

The machinations of ambiguity are among the very roots of poetry.

William Empson (1930). Seven Types of Ambiguity, p. 3. London: Chatto and Windus (1947).

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  • Can Personification be used as a figure of speech for this line ? "A change of mood"
    – asr09
    Feb 12 at 18:55
  • So, According to you , which figure of speech is most suitable for this line
    – asr09
    Feb 12 at 18:58
  • Ambiguity: is the figure of speech here
    – asr09
    Feb 12 at 19:05
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    @asr09 Why do you think ambiguity is a figure of speech?
    – Tsundoku
    Feb 12 at 20:00

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