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In the earth, the earth thou shalt be laid... and answer the following questions

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Read 'In the earth, the earth thou shalt be laid...' and answer the following questions: (a) What different arguments are presented through the poems two voices? (b) How do the poems language and structure contribute to its meaning? (c) Write about another of Bront�'s poems that has a death or a farewell as its subject matter, making some comparisons with the poem above. (a) In this poem "In the earth, the earth thou shalt be laid ..." two adverse voices dispute the nature of death. The first warns of the grim finality and isolation of death. The second voice welcomes death as the bringer of peace after a life of troubles, and opposes the argument of oblivion with the prospect of posthumous kind remembrance. The first voice returns in the last two stanzas insisting that death brings complete annihilation and observes that the first speaker will be mourned by only one faithful individual. In the very first stanza, the first voice presents the second with the image of his grave: the laying of his body, the tombstone and the enfolding soil. The first voice talks of death as very final. ...read more.


"Black" likewise refers not only to the colour of the soul, but traditionally, in such a context, signifies death and mourning. But the whole elegiac effect is largely achieved by the word order that creates the heavily spondaic rhythm. In stanza 2, the second voice shows resignation in the "Well, there is rest there", and the welcoming of death expressed in the second line. Moreover, in contrast with the image of death in the first stanza of "black earth" the image in lines 3 and 4 is by no means morbid; the "sunny hair" recalls life which is nurtured by sun, and the grass-roots refer to the means of life in the soil. Thus the whole curious effect is the image of weaving them together of two forms of life. The rhythm is highly irregular, for example with the substitution of two dactyls. Again this is an important factor in achieving the different tone of the second voice. The only spondee in this stanza falls appropriately on "grass roots". The first voice returns in stanza three. The repetition of "But cold, cold" echoes the opening of stanza 1 ("In the earth, the earth"), and recaptures the contrasting tone. ...read more.


She dare not let her thoughts dwell upon him for fear that life would thereafter be unendurable. Like the first voice of the poem discussed earlier, this poem has a very slow rhythm and an intensely sorrowful tone. Also like the other poem, repetition of key words such as "far", "cold" and "severed" enforce their points. The imagery of snow and distant, wild landscapes conveys a bleak, chill atmosphere. Bront� also uses assonance in both poems, here on the different 'o' sounds in stanza two, building the atmosphere of sorrowful retrospection: "Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover Over the mountains on that northern shore ..." Another similar effect Bront� uses in both poems in repeating the opening of the poem. In "In the Earth", she uses repetition to reflect the opening and also returns to imagery of the cold, isolated grave. In this poem, the first half of stanza three repeats the actual opening of the poem "Cold in the earth". Ironically, this echoes the two uses of repetition used in the earlier poem: "In the earth, the earth" and "But cold, cold". Also, this poem talks about two completely different feelings towards the death of her lover, just as the two voices in "In the earth" compare two completely different views towards death itself. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sasha Jones ...read more.

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