The Imagery and Literary Devices in Good Bones and in an Artist's Studio

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In “Good Bones” written by Maggie Smith and “In an Artist’s Studio” written by Christina Rossetti uses imagery and personal anecdotes to create different underlying meanings for readers to interpret in their own thoughts. Thereby, in Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In an Artist’s Studio” creates a selective memory in the poems by detailing the interior room of an artist’s studio. The artists evaluate the canvas from all angles that is purely subjective to his own image in his mind. “One face looks out from all his canvases (Line 1),” it is clear that the portrait has always been the same painting. This means the artist is able to shift the meaning of the portrait each time a new canvas is being made such as, “A queen in opal or in ruby dress (Line 5).” The artist has drawn “her” numerous times as she is presented in red and white dresses. On the surface of the portrait, it is described as “a saint, an angel ( Line 7)” because the portrait fits in his imagination. This woman is his inspiration and passion. “The same one meaning, neither more or less ( Line 8)” means the artist would love any image this woman portrayed even if she does not perceive as “saint (Line 7)” or“queen (Line 5)”. 

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The portraited is not just a lovely face the artist can admire and obsessed over, rather something the artist spent his time perfecting the image. The artist perceives the woman in a way that is not her, rather than a subjective image of her in the artist’s head. The woman’s identity remains unknown throughout the poem, but it is clear that the reader is viewing the woman through the artist’s fantasy. “Not as she is, but as she fills his dreams (Lines 14)” indicates how the artist is visualizing the woman through his dreams as her beauty is not designed, “as she is, but as she fills his dreams ( Line 14). However, there is no underlying tension initiating the different interpretations, but there is a borderline between reality vs fantasy. 

For instance, “he feeds upon her face by day and night ( Lines 9)” indicates how the artist is admiring her portrait every day and fantasize as she is looking back at him, reciprocating these feelings he has for her. Though, this indicates a struggle for perfection. Personally, there is no underlying tension, rather a man lusting over the woman’s visuals that caused the artist to developed a deeper, underlying interpretations he has for the painting of hers. “In an Artist’s Studio” captures the process by remembering by knowing, “we found her hidden just behind those screens ( Line 3) “we” indicates there are two people in the studio, thus both have the ability to speak their opinion. 

Further, in “Good Bones” written by Maggie Smith consist of a deeper sense of knowledge from the good and bad. “Life is short, though I keep this from my children (Line. 1) buries the harsh realities of life; we are all going to pass away. The narrative has two kids who are sheltered under her, but she is trying to introduce the harsh reality of the world to her kids, but also the beauty of life. “Life is short… I’ll keep from children ( Line 5)” refers to Smith’s beliefs of how there are too many cruel people exists in today’s society. The woman unveiled difficulties and conflicts within her lifetime, “Life is short and the world is at least half terrible, and for every kind stranger, there is one who would break you, though I keep this from my children (Lines 10-13)” implies how she desires to shield her children from particular facts of life by filtering the truth. She is well aware of how the world is like through her experiences, but she has a strong desire to prevent her children from suffering the consequences as she did. “For every bird, there is a stone thrown at a bird (Line 8)” relates to how there is a tension between looking back and moving forward. “This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful (Line 16-17)” reveals how everyone goes through hardships, but it is up to the individual to live their life to the fullest. The tension remains because “Good Bone” touches every human as everyone goes through difficulties in their lifetime, but not all keeps moving forwards after encountering obstacles in their way. 

This poem captures the process of remembering by preserving as many “good bones” as attainable while explaining and guiding our children how to deliver it their own and make their own life beautiful. It is important to be in balance being informed of misery and of the wrongs of the world while remaining grounded in what secures our innocent heart. Therefore, “Good Bones” written by Maggie Smith and “In an Artist’s Studio” written by Christina Rossetti conveys their messages differently through imagery and personal stories, however both poems underlies different meanings that every reader can relate and understand from. The artist in “In an Artist’s Studio” plants an ideal beauty in the same ideal woman, in the hope to capture the beauty he perceives. While the narrator in “Good Bones” explores the worries of a mother or anyone that has been wary of the destructive world. Both poems have their own themes related to themselves first, then the world next. 

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