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The Supernatural in 'The Voice" by Thomas Hardy

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Introduction

How effective do you find Hardy's presentation of the supernatural vision in 'The Voice'? Thomas Hardy is a poet well known for his pessimism and dark and gloomy undertone in his poems. He does not believe in God or heaven, but instead in the supernatural or spiritual force. This is strongly evident in the poem 'The Voice'. The 'woman' that 'call(s) to (him)' is his wife Emma, whose death is the source of his pain. The persona never refers to Emma by name, instead he calls her 'the woman', 'she' or as 'a ghost' in 'After a Journey' and even as a 'shadow' in 'The Shadow on the Stone'. The persona no longer calls Emma by name as he no longer recognises what form she has taken now that she has passed away and 'where (she) ...read more.

Middle

that (he) hear(s)'? The repetition of 'call to me' is a device used to signify how her voice echoes in his subconscious. Emma tells him that she is 'not as (she was)' and that she has 'changed from the one who was all to (him)'. He then decides to conjure up an image of her when they were courting, a time when she was young and vibrant with life. Every detail is cemented in his mind, 'even to the original air-blue gown'. 'Air-blue' is a translucent, even transparent colour, one that ghost or spectre would appear as. In the third stanza, the assonance in the words 'wistlessness' and 'listlessness' create a soft, mysterious and flowing sound to signify the sound the 'breeze' is making, hence having an onomatopoeic effect. ...read more.

Conclusion

sweets, but autumn wrought division' between him and Emma. Autumn is clearly a season of despair and sadness for the persona. Onomatopoeia is used in 'wind oozing', the 'oo' sound representing the wind and creating a ghostly and eerie effect. The 'thorn from norward' represents the pain and anguish the persona is experiencing, and the 'wind' carries it to him. And still he hears the voice of 'the woman calling'. Throughout the poem, there runs an echo of a supernatural force. The poem resonates with sadness and melancholy, and with the voice of a beloved woman long dead. The irrational world is the only realm where the persona can be rational and sane. The persona's love for 'the woman' is so strong; he is willing to sacrifice his sanity in order to "meet" her. The poem has an extraordinary impact on the reader, and is proof that loves knows no boundaries and is not limited only to the physical world. ...read more.

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