Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
By Jane Taylor and Ann Taylor
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?
In the dark blue sky you keep,
Often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Summary of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
1. Popularity: This poem was first published with the title ‘The Star’ in 1806 in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Jane Taylor and her sister Ann Taylor. The poem, having a perfect rhyme scheme, was originally written for children to sing in a chorus. Since then, it has become a song sung thousands of times across the globe. There are also various adaptations around the globe.
2. “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star as a Children’s Poem: As this poem is for children, it has been written from the perspective of a young child who wonders and addresses the star directly to ask what it is. The expression of wonder given in the first two lines continues throughout the poem asking the star what it is and how far it is from the earth. However, what stays in the minds of the children, its major audiences, is the music and rhythm.
3. Major Themes of the Poem: The poem comprises little thoughts of a young child wondering over the twinkling of the stars that look like diamonds in the sky. The child speaks these lines saying the star comes out and twinkle after the blazing sun is gone. The travelers thank the stars for showing them the right path with its twinkling light. When the sky is dark, the child says, he sees this star through his curtains from his room. He again repeats the lines, addressing the star that it never shuts its eyes. The child further expresses that though he does not know what the star is, he knows that it twinkles.
Analysis of Literary Devices in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
The analysis of literary devices reveal the latent meanings of this poem. The use of literary devices is intended to load the words with different meanings. The analysis of some of the literary devices spotted in this poem is given below.
1. Personification: Jane Taylor has used a personification that means to show human quality for inanimate objects like a star. She has personified the star in the second last line of the 8th stanza “For you never shut your eye” as if the star is a person who keeps its eyes open and doesn’t go to sleep.
2. Simile: A simile is a device used to compare two different objects using a connector like ‘like’ and ‘as’. There is one simile used in the last line of the first stanza such as “Like a diamond in the sky.” It shows how the poet has compared the star to a diamond to tell how brightly shines.
3. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers feel things through their five senses. The poet has used the images with the sense of sight such as “bright and tiny spark” and “dark blue sky” for light and darkness respectively. These images help readers to see the star that is providing brightness when the sky is dark.
4. Apostrophe: An apostrophe is a device used to address something or someone who is not present in the room and mostly imaginary. Here the poet has used an apostrophe to show how the child talks to the star, expressing surprise and amazement. The child further not only talks to the star but also explains how it helps the travelers at night.
5. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sounds in the same lines of the poetry such as the use of /t/ sound in “Twinkle Twinkle”, the sound of /r/ in “Then the” and the /n/ sound in “know not”. This use of these sounds has enhanced the musical quality of the lines.
6. Assonance: An assonance is the repetition of the vowel sounds in the same line such as the sounds of /a/ and /o/ come in quick succession in “Though I know not”.
7. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds such as /k/ sound in “Twinkle Twinkle” and /t/ sound in “Little Star” Both the use of assonance and consonance create rhythm in the lines by making syllables stressed or unstressed.
Concluding the literary analysis, it can be argued that Jane Taylor has beautifully used different literary devices to enhance the poem. These devices show how she has tried to convey her inner thoughts to the readers of different times.
Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
Although most of the poetic devices are part of literary devices, yet some devices are only used in poems. The analysis of some of the major poetic devices used in this poem is given here.
1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. In this poem, there are eight stanzas with four verses each.
2. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here, each stanza is a quatrain such as the first one or the second one.
3. Rhyme Scheme: The whole poem follows the AABB CCDD rhyme scheme. The first two lines rhyme with each other, and the second two lines rhyme with each other such as “star, are and high and sky” in the first stanza.
4. Trochee: Trochee means there is a one stressed and one unstressed syllable in a line as given in the next point.
5. Stressed and Unstressed Syllables: These two types of syllables are used in trochee such as the first is stressed and second is unstressed syllable in “Twinkle” and this pattern continues throughout the poem.
6. Repetition: There is a repetition of the word “twinkle” which has created a musical quality in the poem.
7. Refrain: The lines that are repeated again at some distance in the poems are called refrain. Although “Twinkle Twinkle little star” is not repeated with the same words, it has become a refrain as it has been repeated in first, second and the last stanzas.
This analysis shows that this poem, though seems an innocent composition for the children, points to the dark reality that whoever becomes a beacon of light for others, shows his light whenever there is the night.
Quotations for Usage from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little”
1. The first verse as well as the title of the poem “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” can be used when teaching children about heavenly bodies.
“When the blazing sun is gone” could be used to point out the true nature of the sun which is the nearest star, hence it blazes.
“Twinkle Twinkle little star” could be used to teach about the phenomenon of “twinkling” of the stars because they are very far.
2. These two lines can also be quoted to appreciate a great helping hand, who could be a friend, family or a stranger.
“Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark.”