Using the poems studied so far; discuss the range of Hardys subject matter, as well as the methods used in presenting this subject matter to the reader.

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Using the poems studied so far; discuss the range of Hardy’s subject matter, as well as the methods used in presenting this subject matter to the reader.

The range of subject matter in Hardy’s poetry is relatively small. By looking at the poems studied so far, and the repetition of certain themes this can be seen.  A lot of Hardy’s poetry is drenched in nostalgia.  Of the poems studied so far, many of them reflect on a past incident.  Past experiences are remembered in poems like; The Waterfall, We Sat At The Window and Castle Boterel. In the poems written between 1912 and 1913, these memories are especially painful because they were written in wake of his wife’s death. The poems are almost acts of catharsis as he comes to terms with the loss and reflects on death. He looks back on seemingly insignificant moments which acquire poignancy because of what has preceded them. This is seen in At Castle Boterel when Hardy remarks,

“It filled but a minute. But was there ever
A time of such quality”

Loss is an important subject in the poems studied. Loss is not only discussed in the poems between 1912 and 1913 but also in the poem written after his mother’s death. However, the difference is the nature of this loss. In After The Last Breath hardy tries to reconcile the conflicting emotions of relief and loss which he feels. His mother’s death was the drawn out process of old age which caused everyone around her to be in a permanent state of anxiety. When she dies he feels a “numb relief” which “savours well”. The pain he feels is small in comparison to his joy that she has escaped the “cell” of “time”. His reaction to Emma’s death is different because hers was much more sudden. In The Going he questions the nature of her death,

        “Why did you give no hint that night

        That quickly after the morrow's dawn,

        You would close your term here, up and be gone”

This poem was written very soon after her death and the tone and emotions are far rawer. He almost blames her for dying and accuses her of being indifferent. What he really regrets is not having the opportunity to say goodbye and he wonders at what they might have said. Hardy feels haunted by her memory and sees her at the “end of the alley”; this idea is developed in The Voice. In The Voice he hears the voice of his dead wife “call to [him]”. In the first line he repeats “call to me” in an onomatopoeic manner which mimics the calling he hears. The repetition of “call” also picks up the word “all” in the third line and emphasises how much she really meant to him.

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In The Walk Hardy juxtaposes the past with the present; this is also done in Beeny Cliff and At Castle Boterel. In The Walk he shows how much has really changed despite the fact that, physically, it appears the same. In the first stanza Hardy is walking up to “the hill top tree” but is walking “alone” because his wife was “weak and lame”. However he does not mind because he doesn’t think of her as being “left behind”. The second stanza shifts to the present; he is walking up the hill in the “former way”. When he returns to ...

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