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Thomas Hardy's poems " The Oxen" and "Darkling Thrush"

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Mary Walters Dr. Rowe English 11 5 February, 2012 Response Paper #2 From reading two of his poems, my guess is Thomas Hardy wasn?t a very happy-go-lucky person. He used a similar tone to get his point across in both. However, neither of the poems are very bright, or joyful. In, Darkling Thrush, he writes about his depressing opinion of the turn of the 19th century, to the 20th and sees it as a difficult transition. In, The Oxen, he writes about one of his own childhood beliefs about Christmas Eve, giving his own testimony of how things may change with time an age. Hardy?s most troubled times in life must have been when a change was going to come. ...read more.


The same tone shows up again in later lines, ?Nor did it occur to one of us there/ To doubt they were kneeling then.?All the children, still too young to think of questioning anything a person so old and wise said. Even if, it was cattle kneeling before baby Jesus, it gave the children something to believe in. By the end of the poem, Hardy?s tone changes entirely. Slowly fading into skepticism and reality. ?I should go with him in the gloom/ Hoping it might be so.?(15-16) Seemingly torn between two beliefs, Hardy still shows a small glimmer of hope that the legend of the kneeling oxen is true in line 16, but feels that realistically no such thing happens at midnight on Christmas Eve. ...read more.


The sad tone continues in stanza two, but changes in stanza three when the turn of the century finally comes. The tone changes to hopefulness, Hardy talking about a voice rising over the seemingly dead earth. ?In a full-hearted evensong/ Of joy illimited?((19-20). But he was confused, how could something sing with such joy when there was no joy to sing about? Giving the voice an image of heroism. Hardy assumes the voice has knowledge of happy times that he doesn?t know about yet. Giving him a reason to hope that joy was going to come. ?Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew/ And I was unaware.?(31-32) In conclusion, Thomas Hardy?s writings are hard to understand, and on the surface they seem entirely sad and depressing. But when you take a closer look, there is always hope or happiness sprinkled in somewhere. ...read more.

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