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

"A profoundly poignant evocation of love and loss" to what extent do you agree with this assessment of Douglas Dunn's elegies.

Extracts from this document...


"A profoundly poignant evocation of love and loss" to what extent do you agree with this assessment of Douglas Dunn's elegies. Following the death of his wife from cancer, Douglas Dunn chronicled his resulting feelings and emotions in a series of poems entitled 'Elegies'. Essentially this collection reflects on a period of introspection as Dunn comes to terms with her absence. Through the poet's depth and range of emotion feelings of love and loss, ideas that are intrinsically linked, are expressed. Even prior to the death of Dunn's wife there is a profound sense of sadness, primarily due to the inescapability of what is to happen. In 'Thirteen Steps and the Thirteenth of March', which revolves around the days preceding his wife's death, the poet talks of 'my' rather than 'our' "high house." Dunn's sense of general acceptance only goes to highlight his vulnerability and thus heightens the poignancy of the situation. Consequently this sense of hopelessness sets a tone for the remaining poems, which are often rooted in the past tense. ...read more.


In Dunn's poetry the most poignant and heart rending moments occur when sentiments of both love and loss are brought together in microcosmic situations. For instance in the 'Thirteen Steps and the Thirteenth of March' Dunn's wife's fingers have "dwindled" so much so that she can no longer wear her wedding ring. In this particular example there are elements of both love and loss, which intensify the feelings of sadness. Essentially the wedding ring is a union of the bond between them representing their love for each other. The fact that Dunn's wife can no longer wear the ring ultimately symbolise the ending of the union between the couple and the loss that results from this. Despite the sadness evoked by Dunn's poems they are often written in a sense of celebration for the life he has shared with his wife, we learn of the uplifting effect she has on him even in death, "I feel her goodness breathe, my Lady Christ." ...read more.


Consequently his guilt is expressed by what appears to the reader to be quite banal occurrences but to Dunn they are memories to linger on and think what would have happened if he had done something differently. In 'Empty Wardrobes' he regrets not buying his wife a dress, ultimately it is the fact that he will never be able be with her and make her happy rather than the fact he did not buy the dress on that occasion that upsets him the most. Over the course of the 'Elegies' the reader is given the impression that Dunn has matured from a man who was once rooted in the past to a man who is willing to look forward. In the last poem, 'Leaving Dundee' the opening of a "small blue window in the sky" and the leaving behind of "thunder" suggest that for Dunn there is light at the end of the tunnel. By returning to things that he shared with his wife "familiar things of love, that love me", he knows that his wife will always be with him and he can now begin to overcome her loss. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer 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 GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Discuss the sense of isolation and helplessness in ‘The Devils Carousel’ and ‘The Restraint ...

    We see how characters position of power ultimately lead to exclusion, which is tragic as we see the suffering and pain in their lives. The normally gratifying and rewarding status of those higher and indeed all stages of the hierarchy are exposed for the misery it creates, both authors imply that work segregates one from life.

  2. Do you agree that a citizen's wife in Athens had a miserable life?

    However, because it was an event with other men, the women of the oikos were not allowed to join in. A good thing about an Athenian woman's life was that it was very unlikely that they would be divorced because the dowry protected them.

  1. Equal Partner?!

    For example, in her usual days, making cheese and butter, collecting eggs from the poultry, selling the vegetables that they planted, rise cows and chickens on a farm...etc are all her temperate jobs. We can see from the quote written by John Fitzherbert The Broke of Husbandrye.

  2. Creative writing - The Disappearance.

    Surely he couldn't be blamed for raising his voice at those times (though never so much to wake his son) or for grabbing her by the elbow and pulling her to the bed, like he did the night before she disappeared.

  1. Women in Elizabethan times.

    It did not mean, as if often supposed, that the husband was able to command his wife to do anything he pleased, in other words, be a petty tyrant. The headship principal was quite the opposite. It derived essentially from the biblical teachings of Paul in the New Testament, and

  2. Compare 'The Homecoming' and 'The Workbox' by Thomas Hardy.

    Also in 'The Workbox' the man starts to patronise the wife by saying, 'I should have understood! It shocked you that I gave to you one end of a piece of wood whose other is in a grave.' His wife, however, stands up for herself showing that women are strong

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