An Echo Sonnet: To An Empty Page by Robert Pack is a very captivating poem that relies on literary techniques to carry the story. His use of imagery, echoes, and rhetorical questions greatly reveal the speakers inner most feelings about debating if whether he should begin his life and the difference between being alive and living. The title, by itself, is symbolic to the speaker’s life, which support the idea that the devices used in this poem are all meaningful. Pack’s use of literary technique defines the poem exclusively and through recognizing the applied literary devices can one comprehend the underlying meaning behind the intricate sonnet.
Pack’s use of rhetorical questions express the speaker’s confused mental state by exposing the speaker’s true feelings about beginning his life and the adventure that comes along with it. Throughout the entire poem, the speaker continuously asks questions debating what makes life worth living. These rhetoric questions reveal the truth about the speaker and allows the reader to discover a more profound and relatable speaker. These unanswered questions leave the reader a duty to search for the answers.
Through his use of imagery, Pack sets off various expressions and tones. His reference to his aching heart in line 3 exhibits his void of comfort stemming from his uncertainty of life. The imagery used in line 5, “Leaf bloom… death… enemy?” conveys the speaker’s assumption of the cycle of life and whether death is the inevitable enemy to life. This only proves that the speaker fears the future, the unknown, and death. Consequently, indolence is considered more deleterious than death.
The sonnet’s use of echoes in the poem serves a prime factor in understanding the poem. Each echo answers the speaker’s relentless inquiries and in additionally sums up the overall idea in each stanza. The echoes alone articulate a melancholic tone, such as “Dies, Ease, Me, Weep, etc.” Furthermore, Pack’s use of echoes can be translated to the speaker’s subconscious. The echoes interpret genuine and authentic feelings that the speaker is unwilling to admit.
Pack’s use of literary technique greatly contributes to the overall meaning of the sonnet. It is evident that the speaker is confused through his incessant rhetorical questions throughout the entire sonnet. The speaker’s hesitation of starting life from nothing and his attempt to search for consolation is exhibited through his use of imagery, rhetorical questions and echoes. The last couplet of the sonnet displays the speaker’s acceptance that his curiosity of the unknown is what drives him into filling out his “empty” page and inescapably determine his fate.