A Wife in London - Thomas Hardy

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  • A Wife in London
    • Love
      • title
        • the woman in the poem is referred to as "a wife", instantly insinuating her love for the man and making that the focal point of her role in the poem
      • structure and form
        • the first part of the poem hardly describes the husband at all, whereas the second part, ater readers know he's dead, makes him seem like a really good husband and showing how much he loved his wife
      • "Page-full of his hoped return/ And of home-planned jaunts"
        • the husband was trying to keep his wife hopeful of the future, despite the troubling situation they were in, showing his love for her
      • "of new love they would learn."
        • implies that they will learn to love each other still, although they cannot be physically together, showing the true undying nature of their love and how it lasted until after death
    • Pain and Suffering
      • structure and form
        • part one (I – The Tragedy") describes the wife receiving a letter telling her that her husband has died at war, whilst the second part ("II - The Irony") shows her receiving a letter written by her husband, before his death, adding to the sting of his death
      • "He - has fallen"
        • this is a very toned down and less harsh way of saying her husband has died
      • "Flashed news in her hand"
        • the news was abrupt and a shock to her, sending her into a shocked and confused state and ultimately causing her pain and suffering
      • "By the firelight flicker"
        • since the death of her husband the world has become darker and duller, adding to her depressed emotions
    • Death and Loss
      • structure and form
        • the first half of the poem (I – The Tragedy") describes the wife receiving a letter telling her her husband has died at war, whilst the second part ("II - The Irony") shows her receiving a letter written by her husband, before his death, adding to the sting of his death
      • "the fog hangs thicker"
        • as if the loss of her husband has had a physical effect on the weather, creating a sadder and more depressing atmosphere
      • "whom the worm now knows"
        • the wife is imagining a gory image of her husbands buried body, showing how painful and intrusive his death is for her
      • "Page-full of his hoped return"
        • creates a melancholy image of the wife reading the letter written by her husband and thinking of all the happiness they could've had, but no longer can
      • title
        • the title just states that it is "a wife" which is a very vague and general statement, implying that the same thing could be happening to many wives
    • Effects of War
      • semantic field
        • there is a semantic field of war throughout the poem including words such as: "cracks", "flashed" "dazes" "fallen"
      • title
        • the title only states that the woman is "A Wife" giving no more specific details, which creates the idea that there are many more women experiencing the same pain due to the loss of their husbands as she is
      • "He - has fallen - in the far South Land..."
        • the hyphens create the image of the wife reading the letter out loud and trying to comprehend what has happened, showing the sadness she feels
        • this implies that the soldier has died very far away from his wife, disconnected and alone
      • structure and form
        • the poem is written in regular stanzas, all of the same length and with the same rhyme scheme
          • possibly reflects the cyclical nature of war and its killing, asif it is ever repeating in the same sad way
    • Context
      • about a woman whose husband was fighting in the Boer war (1899-1902) which took place in South Africa
      • Thomas Hardy was a well known war poet who's poems regularly depicted the horrors war could inflict

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