Whats the difference between enjambment and caesura?

1 Answer
Mar 1, 2018

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Both caesuras and enjambments are structural devices often used in poems.

Caesuras are full stops placed in the middle of a line of poetry to portray a pause in the poem, usually linked to emotions getting controlled through the pause. For example, in 'Poppies' by Jane Weir a caesura of "Steeled the softening of my face. Then the shot-slashed furrows" is used to symbolise the attempt for the mother to stay in control of her emotions as her son is leaving to go to war, or is in war.

Furthermore, a caesura can also be used to represent an act of warfare or nature. For example in 'Bayonet Charge' by Ted Hughes, a caesura of "Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows" is used to end the period of thought of why the soldier is in war and forces him to go back to the reality of war.

Enjambment is a structural device where a sentence or phrase runs from one line to another or to another stanza. This is often used to show the continuous movement of something mostly, a continuous war or act of the weather. For example, enjambment is used in the first two lines of 'Storm on the island' by Seamus Heaney to show that the storm is something that has lots of power, and is continuous. Weather is more powerful than humans and it can't be stopped.

While it can also be used in warfare or shootings. For example, in 'Remains' by Simon Armitage enjambment has been used in "But I blink...and he burst again through the doors of the bank" to carry on the horror of the gunshots which the gunmen have carried out. the memories are always there.

In conclusion:

Caesuras are full stops in the middle of the sentence to show a pause of something, usually warfare or an act of nature or humans.

While Enjambment is the movement of one line to another or one stanza to another without a comma or a full stop to show the continuous movement of something, again mostly continuous warfare, an act of nature or act of a human.