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Historical context
The Boer War 1899-1902
It began as a struggle between
the British and Dutch `Boer'
settlers in South Africa for
control of diamonds and gold.
The British eventually won
after they adopted a
`scorched earth' policy,
whereby farms were burned
and women and children
were rounded up in
`concentration camps'.…read more

Slide 3

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Story of the poem
A wifein London waits
nervously for news of her
husband fighting in the
Boer War. On a foggy day
she receives a telegram
that he is dead. On the
next even foggier day,
she receives a letter from
her husband detailing his
hopes of returning home
and a happy future
together. He writes that
they will find even greater
love when he gets back.
Sadly, this can never
happen.…read more

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Pathetic fallacy
`She sits in the tawny Pathetic fallacy is
vapour
That the Thames-side lanes
where the weather
have uprolled and landscape
Behind whose webby fold reflects the mood
on fold and thoughts of the
Like a waning taper character. Hardy
The street-lam glimmers
cold.'
used it a lot in his
poetry. How
`Tis the morrow; the fog effectively does he
hangs thicker...' use it here?…read more

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Sounds and feelings
A messenger's knock Hardy chooses his
cracks smartly,
words and their
Flashed news is in her
hand order carefully to
Of meaning it dazes to create sounds
understand that evoke the
Though shaped so feelings of the
shortly: character. How
He has fallen in the far
South Land... has his done this
here?…read more

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Cruel irony
`Tis the morrow; the fog hands thicker,
The postman nears and goes:
There is a
A letter is brought whose lines disclose terrible
By the firelight flicker twist of fate
His hand, whom the worm now knows:
in this
Fresh ­ firm ­ penned in the highest feather ­ poem when
Page full of his hoped return, the dead
And of home-planned jaunts by the brake and man's letter
burn
In the summer weather, arrives.
And of new love that they would learn.' How does
Hardy show
this here?…read more

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