• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Journeying in Hardy's "At Castle Boterel"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

After Emma's death Hardy embarked on a journey to some of their old haunts in Cornwall to rediscover their old love. Considering in detail one poem, discuss ways in which Hardy uses the symbol of journeying in his poetry. "At Castle Boterel", one of the greatest of Hardy's Poems of 1912-13, is an intensely personal poem, yet expresses universal truths on the subjects of loss, reclamation and time. An example of Hardy at his most emotionally evocative and philosophically profound, it chronicles his spiritual, intellectual and emotional journey following the death of his wife. The background to the composition of "At Castle Boterel" is that of a physical journey itself - Hardy's pilgrimage to Cornwall. In the poem this journey is juxtaposed with a past journey, separated by time but not space, taken in a parallel March many years before. The comparative weather conditions belie Hardy's nostalgia for the past: the bleakness of the present "drizzle" and "fading byway" draws a sharp contrast with the "dry March weather" of the former journey. The use of the vivid present in "We climb the road" emphasises the clarity of the memory, blurring, as in many of the Poems of 1912-13, the boundaries between past and present, memory and reality. ...read more.

Middle

However as Hardy begins to muse upon the nature of Time itself, this grander theme is accompanied by philosophical language, using more abstract phrases such as "Time's unflinching rigour" and "mindless rote". Hardy rages against the insuperable adversaries of Time and Nature, the great eternal obstacles to his journey. Just as in "Rain on a Grave", Nature is described as holding humankind in "ruthless disdain," here the "Primaeval rocks" dispassionately watch the procession of humanity. "First and last", they are both ancient and everlasting, unmoved by the insignificance of the "transitory" journey of human life. The cruel indifference of Time and Nature is further symbolised in Castle Boterel. Once a majestic monument to human endeavour and achievement, little remains but some barely discernible ruins. Worn away by Time and Nature, the castle represents the fading of human history from both memory and the landscape as enduring Nature reigns everlasting. The brutal rhythmic effect of the iambic tetrameter in the line "In mindless rote, has ruled from sight" expresses the ruthlessness of Time's "unflinching rigour". The effect is continued in "Remains on the slope, as when that night", which echoes the marching rhythm through the masculine rhymes of "rote" and "slope", as well as "sight" and "night". ...read more.

Conclusion

absurdly tries to assert that Emma's departure was, as before, a deliberate lack of manners: "Your meaning seems to me/ Just as it used to be:/ 'Good-bye is not worth while!'" "The Haunter" too exposes delusion in Hardy's attempt to reassure himself that Emma is still by his side: "Hover and hover a few feet from him/ Just as I used to do". By contrast, the altogether calmer tone of "At Castle Boterel", (the penultimate poem in the sequence) is more indicative of "acceptance" - the final stage, which allows the griever to move on. For as Hardy nears the end of his journey through grief, life and Time, he approaches a "junction of lane and highway" - a crossroads suggestive of a transition, and an allusion to the divide between town and country that so preoccupied him. A man of many conflicts and paradoxes, Hardy was indeed a "time-torn man", caught in the rift between Romanticism and Modernism; two movements of two centuries. "At Castle Boterel" is itself an elegiac journey from grief to acceptance, and, as Hardy prepares to move on to the next phase of life, a farewell not just to Emma, but to Romanticism itself. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Poets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

An excellent essay, which demonstrates understanding of how poetic technique and subject matter are intricately linked and used to craft and create meaning. The writer understands and can explain the effects of a range of poetic devices - not only metaphor, but also enjambment, masculine and feminine rhyme, and to some extent rhythmic effects, though these could be explored in more detail.
There is also a real sense in this essay that the writer has something to say and has responded personally and thoughtfully to the poem. An excellent vocabulary helps to give the essay fluency of expression.
*****

Marked by teacher Val Shore 21/03/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Poets essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Understanding Place and Language in Olive Senior's "Gardening in the Tropics"

    5 star(s)

    It is because of this kind of cultural assimilation which is taking place throughout the West Indies that Olive Senior feels the need to exhume the past and lay it bare for fellow West Indians to understand and appreciate. Arguably, when we compare the content and thematic exploration of Gardening

  2. "A Case of Murder" by "Vernon Scannel" is a poem which deals with ...

    Lastly "Swells and all sides split". This imitates the guilt growing up inside of him , it is getting to much, the pressure of keeping it in he will tell someone eventually. The last technique is onomatopoeia "Buzzing" this shows us the noise that is created by the cat, a long constant noise.

  1. Emily Bronte-Cold in the Earth Critical Analysis

    This stanza seems far more positive than the last two; as she describes how after the death of her lover her life continues much like the seasons, "those brown hills have melted into spring", the season spring here shows

  2. Write a close analysis of Penelope Explain how Duffy creates the female voice and ...

    This creates a violent image, Duffy is able to give the needle the power of a sword through Penelope's accuracy with it. In 'Salome' Duffy also uses dark humour to show the female disregard to man; 'ain't life a bitch' however while Salome is always able to have a relationship

  1. The Glass Jar (Gwen Harwood) Analysis. The Glass Jar, dedicated to Vivian Smith, ...

    The boy, however, is too young to learn the lessons his dreams can teach him. Even as a man he will have an imperfect knowledge of himself. The echo of the 'once upon a time' opening a fairy tale in the first line of the poem, especially in the phrase

  2. In The Going and Your Last Drive Hardy tries to portray the effects loss ...

    Hardy says how she "never...bid goodbye". He is sorry that she didn't say farewell to him. This portrays Hardy differently; not angry and blaming but rather sorrowful and regretful. Hardy is said to have been "unknowing" of her passing and how it "altered all".

  1. Critical analysis of one poem; Kubla Khan

    The stanza begins with "But oh!" suggesting instantly that there has been a negative change in what Coleridge is describing. In this second stanza, the earth seemingly becomes alive as it 'breathes' furiously; "And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were

  2. In The Trees Are Down poet Charlotte Mew seems to be using the trees ...

    of the sun after the cold winter, to see the flowers bloom once more, to enjoy Springtime. She expresses her sympathy for the rat, even though it is a ?God-forsaken? rodent, as she feels that nothing should be dead in spring; it is a season for life and birth.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work