In her poem, "Away Melancholy", how does Smith attempt to encourage her readers to feel more optimistic about life?

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Away, Melancholy by Stevie Smith

In her poem, Away, Melancholy, how does Smith attempt to encourage her readers to feel more optimistic about life?

‘Away Melancholy’ by Stevie Smith is a beautiful poem, in which the reader is encouraged to remove the feeling of sadness from their minds; and appreciate the good parts of life. The poet speaks about the reasons she believes that there is no purpose to feel melancholy.

Firstly, the poet talks about nature in stanza three, to convey her argument for positivity in the face of sorrow. She does this in the line, “The ant is busy/He carrieth his meat”. This line explains how all around us; nature’s fascinating processes are playing out; the ant is carrying his ‘meat’ and living his life as he should. This shows us how every living thing in the world has something to do and no matter how sad we feel- everything in nature will continue to happen, the way it should. The seasons will change, and the ant will carry his ‘meat’, regardless of how you feel. This encourages the reader to feel more optimistic about life, as they realize how their life and hardships are a very little and insignificant issue. Every single living thing has obstacles it will face, and each will try its best to get through it.

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Moreover, Smith speaks about humans and relates them to the ant, further suggesting positivity to her readers. This is illustrated in the line, “Man, too hurries, Eats, couples, buries”. This sentence is one of the extraordinarily clever lines in the poem. The use of asyndeton speeds up the pace of the poem, compared to the last stanzas, which additionally reflects the fleeing quickness of life. This further explains the idea that everyone has their own lives that are just as complex as the reader’s, thus you should not feel worried or depressed. Also, the fleetness of life should encourage ...

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