Here is the poem "Madman's Song" by Elinor Wylie (from The Prose and Poetry of Elinor Wylie , by William Rose Benét):
Better to see your cheek grown hollow,
Better to see your temple worn,
Than to forget to follow, follow,
After the sound of a silver horn.
Better to bind your brow with willow
And follow, follow until you die,
Than to sleep with your head on a golden pillow,
Nor lift it up when the hunt goes by.
Better to see your cheek grow sallow
And your hair grown gray, so soon, so soon,
Than to forget to hallo, hallo,
After the milk-white hounds of the moon.
I have a question about this poem in a book Cracking the SAT Literature Subject Test (by the way, if you've seen some of my previous SAT questions, these are from another book which is better in quality and which I use until I'm going to use until I finish with it):
What is the effect of using “silver” to describe the “horn” (line 4)?
(A) To imply that the horn is not as valuable as a golden horn
(B) To foreshadow any item that may be used in the “hunt” (line 8)
(C) To be alliterative with the word “sound”
(D) To indicate that the image would be bright
(E) To symbolize the beauty of wealth
I think A, D, and E can be eliminated but am not sure about the remaining answers.
In C, the words "sound" and "silver," actually, are alliterated although I wouldn't think that could be a reason for using the word "silver" in general.
As for B, I don't completely understand this answer. I couldn't find an analysis of the poem online although I know it is dedicated to someone who lost their touch with what's important in life. However, I am not 100% sure if the words "horn" and "hunt" are related in the context of the poem.
And here is the explanation:
C “Silver” and “sound” are alliterative (C). There is no comparison between silver and gold (A). “Silver” does not foreshadow the hunt (B). Silver is not necessarily bright (D). The horn is not about wealth, nor are we told it’s beautiful (E).
Should it be obvious in the context of the poem that the horn and the hunt aren't related here? Is it just my lack of understanding? And do the "silver horn" and "hunt" symbolize something else?
Also, can alliteration here be the main reason for using a particular word?