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The poems I am going to analyse and compare are 'Remember', 'Up-hill' and 'Looking Back' by Christina Rossetti and 'Afterwards' by Thomas Hardy.

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Introduction

The poems I am going to analyse and compare are 'Remember', 'Up-hill' and 'Looking Back' by Christina Rossetti and 'Afterwards' by Thomas Hardy. These poems reflect on the theme of loss and how it affects the poets when they reflect on it. The poems also show the poets' preoccupation of death. In these poems, the poets approach the theme of death using various different techniques and linguistic devices. Christina Rossetti is a passionate and powerful poet; the majority of her poetry has contained the themes of either love or death, and in many cases both. Even in the poems which she wrote for children, these themes are prominent. Hardy too was very close to nature. In his poem there are vivid descriptions of objects and the element of nature is almost always present. The titles of these poems all give a hint about what the poem is about. 'Remember' tells us that the poet wants to be remembered for something. Often one is remembered after her death because the pain of loss keeps bringing back her memories. In the poem Rossetti does ask her lover to remember her and demands that he should "Only remember me". 'Up-hill' tells us that that the poet is probably going on a journey. This journey is the journey of life, which Rossetti is inquiring about in her poem. 'Looking back' shows us that the poet is reflecting on something. ...read more.

Middle

'Remember' shows Rossetti's understanding of the fact that death is inevitable so she reaches a compromise and asks her lover to "forget and smile than... remember and be sad". Even in 'Up-hill' and 'Looking Back' Rossetti understands that there will be "beds for me and all who seek" if she has worked for it and also that death is a time of "Looking back along life's trodden way". Hardy is trying to be remembered for as "a man who used to notice" nature and appreciate it in 'Afterwards'. He is thinking about how society will remember him when "the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay". All the poems show pain as well as some optimism especially 'Afterwards' and 'Looking Back'. Hardy shows pain through the harsh image of "the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay". However he shows optimism when he waits to "rise again". He wants to be remembered for his closeness to nature and not for fame or achievements. 'Looking Back' too shows the pain of reflecting on the hardships of life. Rossetti calls us "Foolish feet so prone to halt or stray" showing that we as human beings tend to always make mistakes and create hardships but she then shows optimism when she says "Yesterday we sighed, but not today", showing that she is now at peace and is not going to suffer anymore. In 'Remember' and 'Afterwards' the poets describe death using very gloomy images. ...read more.

Conclusion

The person has no fear as now there is not much left to life so there shouldn't be any worries, which is why she questions "Is that cloud the cloud we called so black?" 'Afterwards' has a tone of wonder - Hardy wonders whether he will be remembered or not. The message conveyed by the four poems are almost entirely different, even though the poets are reflecting on the same theme of death. Rossetti shows three different messages through her poems when she reflects on death. 'Remember' tells us that death is inevitable and will bring about pain but we should not allow our death to be responsible for a loved one's grief. 'Up-hill' on the other hand shows how heaven will be - a place of comfort after a journey which "take the whole long day". 'Looking Back' is meant to convey that death is a time of evaluation of one's life. One should look back "along life's trodden way" and meditate on the mistakes and hardships of life. In 'Afterwards' Hardy says that death is a time of evaluation from others and that you should be remembered for what you are and not because you are famous or have achieved something. He also hopes that he will be remembered for his familiarity with nature and how he "could do little" for it even though he tried. I feel that all the poems effectively convey the theme of loss. All poems have a different approach but the basic idea is clear: death is inevitable. However, the poets have different views on death and its effect on them and those close to them. ...read more.

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