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Compare Walt Whitman's poem come up from the fields father and Thomas Hardy's a wife in London.

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Introduction

'O stricken mothers soul!' a quotation from Walt Whitman's poem come up from the fields father depicts the shock and devastation many women felt as they heard the news that their loved ones had died in the war. I have chosen to compare this poem with Thomas Hardy's a wife in London, which is about a wife waiting at home alone for news of her husband. Both these poems deal with the same core issue, war and the devastating effect it can have on not only those on the battlefield but also those far away at home, in these two poems namely the wife and mother of dead soldiers. Although both of these poems deal with the same issues they have very different backgrounds. Walt Whitman's poem is set in Ohio, America in the middle of the American civil war, and a fight for the freedom of black slaves. Whereas Thomas Hardy's poem is set in the dark streets of London during the Boer war, a war which the British started in south Africa to get their hands on the Dutch settlers land which was rich with gold and diamond deposits. Also Whitman had first hand experience of war hardy had no experience of war whatsoever. Both poets have chosen to convey the same focus point, the forgotten victims of war, the women who were treated as second-class citizens at the time these poems were written. ...read more.

Middle

There is a cruel twist of fate in each poem in ' A wife in London' the wife receives the tragic news her husband has 'fallen in the far south land' Hardy uses imagery to maximum effect in this part of the poem, 'cracks' is totally suggestive of the riffle shot which killed her husband, her shocked, dazed reaction is very understandable, she is waiting for a personnel letter from her husband but instead receives a telegraphed message informing her that her husband is dead, this message is formal and impersonal, her worst fears are realised. The poem then moves swiftly onwards to the next day, ' the fog hangs thicker this is symbolic of her state of mind, there is so much going through her mind, her head is foggy, she is now even more depressed than the day before. Now Hardy adds a tragically ironic twist to the poem with the arrival of a letter from her dead husband, she sits alone forlornly reading the letter, which he wrote in such high spirits. 'His hand whom the worm now knows' Hardy's reference to her husband being dead is horrific but it is reality, it is meant to shock us. In 'Come up from the fields father' events happen in the opposites sequence, they first receive a letter supposedly from their son Pete, but it is not he who has ...read more.

Conclusion

In the first stanza both parents are called with a sense of urgency as a letter has arrived from their son, this urgency could easily be confused as excitement at first glance, for the next three stanzas Whitman presents the reader, with hopeful, pleasant images which are in stark contrast to the news which the letter contains, this upbeat scene lulls the reader into a false sense of security, before the horrific scene unfolds when the letter is read. The reader then realises that autumn is the dying season, when all on the farm is cut down for winter and dies just like Pete cut down in his prime. The poem 'A wife in London' is short and to the point, it is impersonal and formal, just like the message in which this London wife reads the devastating news about her husband. Likewise 'Come up from the fields father's length and tone is reflected in the type of message they receive telling them their son or brother is dead, it is long, and personnel, Whitman also dwells on the mothers grief for longer whereas in Hardy's short poem he does not linger on the wife's grief. In conclusion I personally prefer Walt Whitman's 'A wife in London' because I feel 'come up from the fields father is too cryptic. Hardy's poem is short and to the point. Although it does have a more tragic twist of fate, this only adds to the sympathy the reader feels for the London wife. ...read more.

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