Isolation in Hardy's poems 'Nobody Comes' and 'The Darkling Thrush'

Authors Avatar by abuelgasim (student)

In the poems “The Darkling Thrush” [‘TDT’] and “Nobody Comes” [‘NC’], Hardy presents two similar images of isolation. In both poems, the personae are isolated from human company, whilst Hardy explores this using imagery of ghosts and the supernatural in both also. However, individually there are differences in tone; although NC ends upon as dire a note as it begins, Hardy engineers an optimistic outlook in TDT and suggests that the persona’s isolation may not

Hardy ensures that the persona of ‘TDT’ is isolated from any other human presence or, until the poem’s third stanza, any living organism. Whilst leaning against “a coppice gate”, he notes that “all mankind... had sought their household fires”. Although this is an indication of the low temperature, it is noticeable that the rest of humanity are seeking light in an otherwise dark environment; reciprocally, the persona is deprived of both warmth and living company. To further this point, Hardy personifies non-human entities, such as frost and winter – “Winter’s dregs”, for example. In this way, Hardy makes the reader personal not with living creatures but with inanimate entities, isolating the animate persona even more.

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Indeed, Hardy makes such a division more striking by picturing the persona’s surroundings as very extreme. Surrounded by deathly imagery, the persona imagines the landscape as “the Century’s corpse/ His crypt the canopy,/ The wind his death lament”. Even Hardy’s animate entities seem ghostly; “Frost was spectre-gray” and “mankind... haunted nigh”. Such is the state of decay that even “the ancient pulse of germ and birth was shrunken” – the regenerative power of life has itself died, leaving the persona as the sole animate existence.

A similar loneliness can be seen in ‘NC’, especially towards the end of the poem. ...

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