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

Poetry and Melancholy in Sheers Examination of Welsh Identity

Extracts from this document...


"Beneath the lyrical and pastoral influences on Welsh Border literature lies a deeply elegiac, even tragic note." Compare and contrast the different ways in which two of your chosen texts present poetry and melancholy in their examination of Welsh Identity. The borderland represents much to those that live there. It is a geographical, geological and linguistic border, plunging the entire area into a limbo of confused identity; twilight poised between the lyrical dreams of magic and myth, and the overcast, oppressive reality. Therefore the Welsh border literature is influenced lyrically due to the rich oral tradition of the cyfarwydd carrying stories rooted in Celtic mythology from village to village. The collection of poems in Skirrid Hill by Owen Sheers is evident of lyricism, as the natural rhythms seem to capture the storytelling skill of the bardd. The pastoral influences stem from the intimacy and dependence that Welsh people living on the border show to the land, represented by the huge amount of agriculture and mining that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is shown in Resistance, also by Owen Sheers, as the writer presents poetry in such a way that people and the landscape become inseparably interdependent. ...read more.


This is a tendentious comment however, as one might argue that Sheers is effective in unveiling the tragic note beneath the lyrical and pastoral influences in his writing. It is clear that Sheers uses the metaphor of the 'shallow handhold' to represent the instability and inevitable death of human relationships, and the fact that these connections can only exist in dreams and thought, which themselves are transient and fragile. This theme can also be seen in Resistance, as whilst Albrecht and Gernot dream of eternal love between them and the farm women, this is never realised. Critic Ingrid Wassenhaar points out the impossibility of these relationships, 'the novel begins with an ending- the disappearance of the husbands. Its quest throughout is for an ending that might be a fresh start.' Therefore Wassenhaar suggests that the tragic note in Resistance stems from the fact that the intentions of Albrecht and his patrol are doomed from the start. This is supported by the quotation, 'the river...would always rediscover its course, however much he wished to dam it with the insignificant pebbles of his own intentions.' It is the belief in eternal relationships, whether those are between a father and son, or a man and woman, which sets in motion the tragedy of both Farther and Resistance. ...read more.


Olivia Cole believes that, 'this is the limbo in which Skirrid Hill is anchored...this elegiac sense of belatedness.' This opinion is poignant, as Sheers subtly proposes the question, is it too late to go back to simplicity, to truth, and to life? Author Garan Holcombe beautifully sums up Resistance, in such a way that it is also relevant to Skirrid Hill, 'Resistance, like everything Sheers has written, is a eulogy to the meditative beauty of the landscape and a cry for communal values in a time of ruthless individualism.' It is this 'ruthless individualism' which is the source of much of the elegiac tone in both works, as it undermines the pastoral and lyrical influences from 'the meditative beauty of the landscape.' After reading both works, it becomes evident why Sheers chooses the Welsh borderland for his elegy; the area is representative of the borders that the people themselves create, thus choking any potential for intimacy, and stopping them from experiencing true love, or even just life. Indeed, these borders may be legitimate, for example a language barrier or the obstacle of illness. However, where these borders derive from memories, dreams and fear, there lies the true tragedy of humankind. Word Count: 1550 ?? ?? ?? ?? Jonathan Inglis Poetry and Melancholy in Sheers' Examination of Welsh Identity pg. 1 ...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 Comparative Essays section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Comparative Essays essays

  1. Compare the ways in which Heaney and Sheers use their nationality and background in ...

    As the latest in a huge list of rebellions, these tactics cannot be new. The newness stems from the failure to recall past revolts. "Each" separate rebellion regards itself as disconnected from the past, as if it were something "new" "happening each day."

  2. Compare the ways in which Heaney and Sheers write about memories. Your response must ...

    At the end of the poem, Heaney portrays how they must deal with the consequences of their actions. There is a feeling of childlike sorrow, since it was a child who was the victim of temptation, but also, during the experience, a touch of evil because there is always a stain left from the pleasurable moment.

  1. Comparative Poetry Essay - "The Thought Fox" and "Digging"

    hand, but instead of saying "as snug as a gun", he replaces it with "I'll dig with it". This shows that whilst he is bad at manual labour, which he feels ashamed for, he considers writing poetry to be his form of manual labour, a job that he works hard at, gets paid for, and can be proud of.

  2. Othello - A tragic hero

    This understanding of Othello is strengthened when Shakespeare compares him with Christ, when "Brabantio, Roderigo, with Officers and torches and weapons" (I.ii.54) enter Scene Two of Act One. This scene of Othello re-enacts a small part of the Gospel when Christ and his followers are met by officers carrying swords and torches.

  1. Analyse the ways in which Tony Harrison presents the theme of family relationships in ...

    times, that the narrator will always be his 'father's-son' as from this perspective, it seems that their personalities handle death similarly. Another topic which emphasises the family relationships of these two poems is voice in the poem. Through the use of a phone call, one may suggest that this is

  2. Human Suffering in Lyrical Ballads

    This is effective because Wordsworth stresses that it is a "female" who is aimless and "vagrant" in disposition, as oppose to a man; preparing the audience for the tragedy of the poem. The poem is also written in a first person perspective, which heightens the level of sympathy from the

  1. Wilfred Owen - Dulce Et Decorum Est

    Rhythm also contributes in the effectiveness of the poem. For example, in the second stanza there is a dramatic and brusque contrast to rhythm and mood "Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!" This changes the pace because the choice of monosyllabic words as well as the exclamation marks which make you read quicker.

  2. Women are dismissed as insignificant in both the poetry of Larkin and Eliot. How ...

    The persona in the poem thinks that Dockery has just followed the ?innate assumptions? of society that one should marry and bring children into the world. The persona questions this, saying how he feels that a son, would mean ?dilution? thereby stifling a person?s creativity and freedom.

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