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Write a detailed comparison between ‘The Old Familiar Faces’ and Tears, Idle Tears’.

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Emma Pearson CDs 16/03/02 Write a detailed comparison between 'The Old Familiar Faces' and Tears, Idle Tears'. The two poems 'The Old Familiar Faces' and 'Tears, Idle Tears' both share the same genre; loss and regret. Each poet Charles Lamb with 'The Old Familiar Faces' and Alfred, Lord Tennyson with 'Tears, Idle Tears' talk about the past and their experiences. The poems both convey an atmosphere of sadness and regret and this is continued throughout every line of each poem. Lamb is ultimately saddened because he is left as the carer of his mentally ill sister, after his mother's death. But there is a twist. Lambs mentally unstable sister murdered their mother and as to prevent his sister being taken to an asylum Lamb was forced to nurse her. This meant that Lamb had to live with the person who had killed his own mother, which is very difficult situation to be in! As it would to anyone the death of his mother was extremely traumatic to Lamb, this is the most terrible event Lamb has incurred (especially in the given circumstances), as this is the first subject that Lamb writes about. We become suspicious of the above facts when we read she, 'Died prematurely in a day of horrors'. ...read more.


Tennyson also uses many phrases such as, 'Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail, That brings our friends up from the underworld'. Tennyson uses contrast such as this throughout his poem to show that he compares everything good and positive to negative and evil thoughts. He does this to show that he cannot bring himself to see good in the more purist of experiences. For example the sunrise is a symbol of a new day, a new beginning or a new chance but Tennyson writes, 'Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns'. This is Alfred, Lord Tennyson using an oxymoron to good effect as 'dawns' are supposed to be positive but the poet in question is so depressed that he sees it only in a negative tense. Tennyson, like Lamb also uses repetition to express and emphasise his ultimate devastation as he keeps repeating the line, 'the days that are no more', again this is Tennyson reflecting that what has gone and he cannot retrieve it. In this state of mind Tennyson cannot even (he feels) be rescued by the most powerful emotion: love. As love has failed him he says, 'On lips that are for others'. By writing this line Tennyson is telling us that people love others but not him In contrast to this Lamb has encountered love but when we read, 'I loved once, fairest among women. ...read more.


happy and innocent when he was a child but now he is an adult he is sad and unhappy, and he feels regret about the changes brought on by time. Each poet, uses repetition to reiterate their sadness and regret. For example, Tennyson uses 'The days that are no more', Tennyson here is reflecting on, what has happened has happened, and that cannot be changed and he is getting older and older each day and he cannot change that fact either. Lamb decided to repeat the line, 'All, all are gone, the old familiar faces' which means everyone he knew and loved have gone (died or left him) and he is depressed because of this, he cannot bring them back, so he feels helpless. Finally, I believe Tennyson's poem 'Tears, Idle Tears' is a more powerful poem, as in just four verses Tennyson gives the reader a detailed insight in to his inner thoughts and feelings. Yet, Lambs poem is more of a list and tells you, the reader what is hassling him and he does not give you a defined insight into his inner feelings. To help the reader, 'feel' what Tennyson thought he uses a lot of similes and metaphors as to put across his thoughts, which I believe helps to give a better insight into what Tennyson was actually enduring. ...read more.

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