Critical Appreciation of the Darkling Thrush with Particular Emphasis on Time and Change.

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Introduction

Critical Appreciation of the Darkling Thrush with Particular Emphasis on Time and Change "The Darkling Thrush" was written by Thomas Hardy on the last day of the nineteenth century. The subject of the poem is about the transition of one century to the next in time and change. The atmosphere is set in the first stanza because we see that it is set in a cold winters day; "When Frost was spectre-gray/And Winter's dregs made desolate". Hardy deliberately personifies the season and frost because it makes the weather more powerful and it also gives it human qualities. Further more, the use of winter gives the idea of depression and death which is what Hardy is trying to tell the reader. This stanza is obviously setting the atmosphere of the poem; it shows Hardy is not looking forward to the future and the only thing he knows will happen is death. A good example of this is in the quotation "The tangled bine-stems scored the sky/ Like strings of broken lyres".

Middle

It was as if everything had withdrawn and everything was dieing. Hardy explains that "every spirit upon earth" had no energy and was not looking forward to the forthcoming years. This stanza portrays the idea of death, no vigour and nothing to look forward to. Hardy is surprised to hear "a voice arose among/The bleak twigs overhead" in the third stanza. It was a bird singing "a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited;" this is a good contrast because a bird is singing a joyful song full of gusto when Hardy himself "seemed fervourless". However, the appearance of the singing bird surprised him also; "An aged thrush, rail, gaunt and small,/In blast-beruffled plume". This description is the equivalent of Hardy like a mirror image of himself. There is irony here because he is like the thrush, old and feeble, but the Thrush is ecstatic even though it is a miserable looking bird. Hardy seems to show admiration for the bird because he appreciates the bird as being happy and giving everything it had seeing that it was aged; "Had chosen thus to fling his sole".

Conclusion

At this point the reader can comprehend the reason for the word "Darkling" in the title of this poem. This is because Hardy is in the dark at the turn of the century. He had been transformed from being a man full of life in the previous century to be pessimistic in the next. Reasons for this are proven in the previous stanzas of the poem because he mentions that he is alone. He had no partner, which he used to have in the past, to accompany him and he was getting older; all this equated to no "Hope" for the future. Hardy wrote the poem "The Darkling Thrush" with the main theme of time and change in mind. He was noticeably depressed throughout the poem and must be confused during this point in his life because he was trying to find an answer for why the Thrush is singing with such zest, which signifies how he thought anyone could be content with their life. Hardy therefore tells the reader that he believed that there was no hope in the future for him to adjust. ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrew Tait Page 1 07/05/2007

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