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Iolaire Essay on the theme Loss of Faith

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Introduction

2009 Q12 "Iolaire" by Iain Crichton Smith is an emotive poem centralised around the main concern of loss. This is conveyed through the persona's emotional journey to complete loss in faith God. Crichton Smith effectively uses techniques such as imagery, tone and word choice to develop the poem and the readers understanding of it. Crichton Smith uses passage of time to build up a climax to the point when the persona loses all faith in God. The initial tone of the poem is confusion. This is shown through the repetition of "it seemed". The persona is not sure what has happened and is bewildered by what he can see. ...read more.

Middle

This connotes that the Elder believes God is remorseless and does not care about his actions. The persona doubts God and begins to question God directly, "Have we done ill, I ask?" This shows the persona does not understand what we, as humans, have done to deserve such a tragedy. Moreover, when Crichton Smith uses the metaphor "cold, splayed insect bodies" to describe the men floating in the water, we are led to believe the persona thinks God does not care for us as individuals. The clever dehumanisation of these men is effective because it is the comparison of men to insects. The persona believes that God thinks we are all so insignificant, killing a man is no different to killing a fly. ...read more.

Conclusion

The climax of the poem, when the persona loses all faith in God is shown through the subtle word choice of "I kneel from you". It is effective because "kneel" has connotations of praying so for the persona to kneel away from God he is completely rejecting his beliefs and faith in God as a result of God's indifference to us as individuals. The Elder believes God is remorseless and feels no sympathy towards our losses. Crichton Smith effectively conveyed the main theme loss of faith through the portrayal of the Elder's experience of discovering the bodies of 200 men. He cleverly used the techniques of imagery and word choice to convey the main incident. ...read more.

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