From your Reading of this selection of Thomas Hardy poetry comment on what you see as his major themes and how he expresses them. You should focus on 2 or 3 of the poems Thomas Hardy lived in the Victorian Age, when people consider themselves victims of the times. The passage of time is the central theme in his poetry; he believed that it was the source of all the unhappininess in the world. Hardy thought that the forces of the universe dwarfed humanity and like many others in the latter years of the nineteenth century he felt a great sense of personal insignificance.Order now
This is shown in the poem ‘Convergence Of The Twain’ where the theme is the nature of fate and destiny. In the first five stanzas Hardy talks of the ship lying at the bottom of the ocean. He portrays a feeling of calm by using alliterations. The use of sibilance in the first line, “solitude… sea”, sets softness in the opening tone. When he wants to talk of the rough nature of the ocean he uses the letter “c” in the words “Cold currents”, which gives it a very harsh feel, and emphasises the artic sea and cold conditions.
The poem then continues to describe that whilst the ship was being built, its destiny and fate had already been decided. The iceberg, which was being growing in the Artic Ocean was doing so at the exact same time and would eventually destroy it. This illustrates the themes of fate and destiny. The inevitable collision between ship and iceberg happens in the last stanza. In the opening stanzas Hardy describes his feelings about the people of the time. He thinks that they are very vane and they are the ugliest of creatures.
This is illustrated s in the fourth stanza where he talks of the people being able to see there reflection in the mirror but all they can really see is the sea worm which is the ugliest creature alive. He then uses such adjectives as grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent and this shows his disgust for the upper class and what he thinks of them. In the next three stanzas he talks of human vanity. In order to describe this he uses alliteration using the letter “j” as in Jewels and joy, which gives a deep and rich sound.
He also talks about how the people on the ship do not appreciate what they have and he mocks the people because they have all this gold but it is now worthless and no longer special because it is lost at the bottom of the sea. “What does this valglouriousness down here? ” In other words he is trying to emphases the there are only fish to look at it and they don’t appreciate and they think it absurd. Thomas Hardy feels that human beings could expect nothing from life and if they were aware enough they would see that eventually all of there hopes would be dashed and they would loose the ones that they loved best.
This feeling is probably brought on by the death of his wife who was very dear to him. Hardy felt life was a downward spiral towards an inevitable conclusion, and this is shown in the sixth stanza where he says, “The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything. ” In the next few stanzas he talks of the growth of the iceberg, which is simultaneously contrasted it to the building of the ship. He says the iceberg didn’t have the same hype as the ship even though it was equally special and their destinies were intertwined. In the final two stanzas describe the joining of the ship and iceberg, which eventually emerge into one.
He talks of the irony of how a beautiful ship was destroyed by a dirty ice berg, and he also says that in history the ice berg was just as important as the ship because without there would have been no event and their fates were decided long before. The final stanza completes the web of fate and the pattern of the poem when he is saying that it was objective of the ship to meet the iceberg and he calls this coming together of two hemispheres, one of them being human the other being natural. He says that the human hemisphere was shocked that a product of nature could destroy this triumph of engineering and science.
In the Poem ‘Afterwards’, Hardy writes about his own death as if he is already dead, he wants to know what people will think of him once he is dead: “One may say- he strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm”. In this poem he gives us the image he has of himself after death, and he attempts to bring the dead person to life and he talks about both the things that mattered to him and what is unique and individual about him. The poem does this through its slow and gentle rhythm. The poem starts off talking about life coming to an end and how he is getting old:
“When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay. ” He also uses similes to describe a new life and a new era, “Glad green leaves like wings. ” In the next stanzas he talks of when he would like to die, “if I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm. ” He is trying to be positive about what people think about him he believes that death is a part of nature and it is inevitable, and he is also looking at the beauty of nature In the penultimate stanza he is wondering what people will think of him after he is gone:
“Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more”. In the final stanza Hardy envisages his own funeral, “when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom”. He feels that nature “cuts a pause in its outrollings”, and has taken away part of his life as nature goes on. “He hears it not now”, that he is dead, yet “used to notice such things”. The major themes of Thomas Hardy’s poems were usually death and fate.
His poems portray him as a great believer in fate, as were many people in the time that he lived, he believed that everything happened for a reason and that everything was meant to happen as everything and everyone had a destiny. He also talks a lot about Death, in the context of both remembering his dead wife, and his own vanity; will he be remembered after his own death? We see these themes in many of his poems, foe example, ‘At Castle Bottrel’. Quite often his two major themes intertwine as he normally talks of how everyone’s fate is to die, and he believes that everything leads to death.