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English GCSE Coursework - Pre1914 Poetry

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Introduction

English GCSE Coursework - Pre1914 Poetry How does Hardy portray the themes of loss and loneliness in his poems? I am going to be comparing three of Thomas Hardy's poems. These poems are: Where The Picnic Was, The Voice and Neutral Tones. Hardy was writing in a time when women could not vote. Women were second-class citizens who mainly stayed in the home. During the time when Hardy was writing, it was very difficult for a woman to divorce a man. The only way the woman would be able to divorce the man was only if she could prove cruelty. However, unlike women, a man could divorce his wife just like that with a minor reason. Thomas Hardy himself believed in marriage but only if people had similar interests. If people grew apart, he believed that they should be allowed to divorce. Hardy married twice in his lifetime. In 1874, Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford. She convinced him to start writing. Emma Hardy could not have children but still, Hardy continued the marriage without divorcing. On November 27th 1912, Emma Hardy died after being married for 38 years. Two years later, Hardy married his secretary, Florence Emily Dugdale. She was 35 and he was 74. She acted as his companion and housekeeper. The poems I have chosen to compare were all written after Emma's death. ...read more.

Middle

The quote is saying that Emma is ghostly and seems to be haunting Hardy The theme of this poem is remembering loved ones and death. It is the overall theme that goes through Hardy's poems written after 1912 which was the year when Emma died. 'The Voice' and 'Neutral Tones' have a simple structure, showing Hardy's strength of feeling. There are four stanzas in both poems. The lengths of the lines are quite long and about the same length in the poem but get bigger and smaller. The rhyme scheme of 'The Voice' is ABAB. The rhyming words I have picked out from 'The Voice' are 'falling' and 'calling.' 'Falling' is what Hardy is probably feeling right now as he has lost someone close to him and 'calling' sums up the poem as that is what it is about, hearing Emma's voice as she is calling him. The rhyme scheme of 'Neutral Tones' is ABBA. The rhyming words I have chosen from the poem are 'deceives' and 'leaves.' 'Deceives' could be suggesting what happened in the relationship between this woman. He could have been deceived by her. 'Leaves' even though it is related to a tree, could mean how she left as this is the last word in the poem. The rhythm in both poems is irregular. The lines get bigger and smaller alternatively. ...read more.

Conclusion

A simile is comparing things by using 'like' or 'as'. Hardy uses these to exaggerate feelings. A quote from 'Neutral Tones' is, 'And a grin of bitterness swept thereby Like an omnibus bird a-wing.' Another example of a simile from 'The Walk' is, 'By the gated ways, As in earlier days.' The last thing that Hardy uses is repetition. Repetition is useful when a point has to be made clear. A quote from 'The Voice' is, 'how you call to me, call to me'. This quote which contains repetition is trying to get the point clear that he is hearing her voice calling him. The themes of loss and loneliness are used by Hardy throughout his poems. These express how he feels because he is lonely now that Emma is gone. I personally feel that the poems would not have been good if Emma hadn't died. Emma's death was what made Hardy write his feelings down as a poem. I preferred The voice. This was because the poem was very easy to understand and got straight to the point. All the lines in the poem meant something that I understood and that is why I preferred that poem. The poems are effective in the way that they show how Hardy feels because Hardy uses both strength of feeling and natural setting and linguistic effects such as pathetic fallacy to draw the reader into his thoughts. Without these things, the poems wouldn't be very effective at showing how Hardy feels. ...read more.

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