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How are sadness and loss recurrent in poetry down years?Comparing 4 poems

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How are sadness and loss recurrent in poetry down years? In this piece of coursework I shall explore how the themes of sadness and loss are recurrent in poetry throughout time. I shall do this by closely analysing two pre-1914 poems and four post-1914 poems and show how these two themes are explored by the poets. The two poems written before 1914 shall be La Belle Dame Sans Merci written by John Keats and The Lady of Shalott written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The four poems written after 1914 shall be Modes of Pleasure and Black Jackets, written by Thom Gunn, and Afternoons and Mr Bleaney, written by Philip Larkin. I shall start with the poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci tells of a knight who is in love with, and has been abandoned by, a beautiful daughter of a faery. The fact that she is a faery is important as at the time this poem is set, faeries were classed a mysterious force, not to be reckoned with. When found, the Knight is said to be "alone and palely loitering" and also "so haggard and woe-begone". ...read more.


Modes of Pleasure describes a middle-aged man in a bar, with no future, only the same he has done in the past. Already you can notice that this man must be feeling sadness in the fact he has wasted his life on the things that aren't essential. The first line is powerful as it summarises the theme, "I jump with terror seeing him". The man is scared of his life now as he sees his reflection in the bar. The biggest loss in this poem is the loss of life he has endured, "The Fallen Rake, being fallen from the heights of twenty to middle age". The 'Fallen Rake' knows the sadness that will occur when he loses all he has, "In different rooms without a word would all be lost some time in time." In that quotation he was talking about the cheap dates he gets in the bars, and what goes on to happen after the date. "Rigid he sits: brave, terrible, the will awaits its gradual end"- this man is willing to lose the rest of his life doing the same he has always done as he knows he is too far gone to change the future now; which bring sadness into his body. ...read more.


The descriptions of the room show that he has no feelings now about anything, "Bed, upright chair, sixty-watt bulb, no hook behind the door, no room for books or bags- "I'll take it."". He wants to lead a plain life, so he is choosing his own destiny. This man has now lost his own life, and feels he leads the one of his predecessor, "So it happens that I lay... And his sister's house in stoke." He has learnt the habits of Mr Bleaney, and all his annual pastimes. The last two paragraphs show that he actually realised that you need to take the future into your owns with such quotes as, "how we live measures our own nature". This room he lives in is reprehensively perfect, as he hates it, but it is a perfect situation to live in. After realising this, the man must have felt a sense of sadness of how he has ended up living life, in another person's shoes. As a summary, poems written before 1940 have no difference in the sense of feelings compared to those written after. Even though some portrayed Knights and Faerys, for example, as the only ones with feelings, they also portrayed the small people, normal people. Christian Orchard. ...read more.

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