Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Dr. Mimosa S. Schraer [Mimosa S. Stephenson]

Second Advisor

Dr. Milo E. Kearney

Third Advisor

Dr. George K. Green


May Swenson's poetry contains four major image patterns: (1) sexual/sensual, (2) birth, (3) plant and (4) animal. These patterns work together to support a single unifying theme in Swenson's work: respect for all forms of life and for the natural world. This thesis devotes one chapter to each specific pattern. Chapter two analyzes sexual/sensual imagery which emphasizes the need for mutual respect in sexual relationships as well as for respect for the natural environment. This pattern is divided into three subcategories: (1) sexual/sensual imagery supporting themes dealing specifically with sexual roles and relationships, (2) sexual/sensual imagery celebrating the sexuality of the human body and (3) sexual/sensual imagery expressing the poet's union with nature. Chapter three explicates the birth image pattern that is evident in poems concerned with the mistreatment and abuse of human beings. Chapter four analyzes the plant image pattern that stresses respect for man, animal and the natural world. Chapter five explicates the animal image pattern that Swenson employs as a symbolic vehicle for presenting her ideas on the necessity for personal freedom, independence in thought and harmonious involvement with the environment. This pattern contains seven symbolic animals that are individually developed in chapter five.


Copyright 1978 Ruth Ida Penque. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

Pan American University at Brownsville