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Show how, in his poems of 1933, Dylan Thomas uses language and poetic form to explore both his own metaphysical viewpoint and his position as a poet in relation to the rest of society.

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Introduction

Show how, in his poems of 1933, Dylan Thomas uses language and poetic form to explore both his own metaphysical viewpoint and his position as a poet in relation to the rest of society. In this essay I will look at how Dylan Thomas uses language and poetic form to explore his own metaphysical viewpoint and his position as a poet in relation to the rest of society. I will begin by looking at and analysing the poems that explore DT's metaphysical ideas. In this part of my analysis I will be analysing relevant parts of the following poems; 'The force that through the green fuse', 'And death shall have no dominion' and 'Why east wind chills'. From reading the first poem 'The force that through the green fuse' I see the image of life being the 'force' and living things are the 'fuses'. I think that what DT is trying to say is that life is a continual cycle and never stops, it is only the physical elements which the 'force' must possess to become life that are the restriction to the flowing and continual cycle. I think the key lexis here is 'fuse'; the word fuse has many different connotations within the context of this poem (also note that the fuse is green - a further connection with nature and natural things). One such meaning that could be derived from it is that of a fuse used in an electrical socket. This kind of fuse breaks if there is too much current flowing through at once. On the other hand the word fuse can also means to join together, to combine. ...read more.

Middle

'All his days' means that we will be questioning for the rest of our lives, but will never find an answer. Perhaps this says that we have as much knowledge about life as a child does or that humans are childish to even ask such questions when they know that they will never find an answer. The last phrase in stanza one 'black reply' means that the reply to these questions will be dark, we will be left the in dark about these questions. The second stanza explores the same questions about life and death. The first line contains archaic lexis 'cometh' perhaps suggesting that we have been asking these questions for hundreds of years yet still have no answers. Jack Frost is a personification of winter and also represents death. The 'comet' that the children attempt to grasp in their fists represents the metaphysical answer to the questions. The last four lines of the stanza tell us that we will never know the answers until we die and that death shall reveal all - 'white answer'. Stanza three mocks the na�ve faith of believers in explanatory systems 'stars advice' (astrology). Even the stars in which humans search for answers are themselves ignorant of the truth. The last stanza (four) states that the speaker is reconciled to not knowing the answers to his questions. Because there is nothing else he can do, he must be content that there are no answers and we should stop asking these questions. When we do ask the questions are thrown back at us - 'echoes answer' and we are just left facing death. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first two lines of the first stanza 'this bread I break was once the oat, the wine upon a foreign tree' refer to the bread and wine at the last supper of Christ and comment on the irony of bringing about the death of nature in order to celebrate the life of Christ. The repetition of 'break' throughout the poem adds to this violent imagery. This shows that things have to be hurt and broken before they are transformed. This idea provides the poems central metaphor and says that Christ too had to suffer and die before being resurrected. The second stanza provides further illustrations of mankind's destruction of living things and his assertion of power over nature in order to create bead and wine for Holy Communion. This is show in line 10 'Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down' the word 'sun' could also be a pun for son - Jesus. In the last stanza the reader is addressed directly 'you', bringing them into the poem and allowing them to see what damage man is causing. He reminds them that he too is a part of nature, which seems to suggest that his destruction is an inevitable part of his purpose on earth. Overall I feel that these poems give a representation of DT's position as a poet in relation to the rest of society. I feel that he is trying to say that, as a poet, he is isolated from the rest of civilisation and that it is his job to help readers see the falseness of society and persuade them to not change it, but realise the illusion and appreciate the wonders of nature and all natural things. ************* 03/05/2007 1 ...read more.

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