Aspects of Narrative within Thomas Hardy poems - BEGINNINGS

If you study English Literature at AS level with AQA, then these revision cards will help most with Section B of the paper, where it will ask you to write about three texts in terms of a selected aspect of narrative. These revision cards show key points about each aspect of narrative from the Hardy poems: The Voice, Under the Waterfall, Convergence of the Twain, Neutral Tones and The Haunter.

This set focuses on Beginnings.

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Beginnings - The Voice

1st stanza -

"Woman much missed" creates a universal feeling for the reader to relate to

The repetition of "call to me" highlights Hardy's loneliness and desperation

"When our day was fair" implies that he feels Emma's death was unfair, as if she was taken from him

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Beginnings - Under the Waterfall

"Whenever I plunge my arm" - the domestic situation triggers the flashback

The oxymoron "the sweet sharp..." creates a bitter sweet emotion, because it was love but it had to end.

"real love rhyme that I know by heart" and "leaves no smart" show clearly that the poem is transcendent, because there is only happy and real memories.

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Beginnings - The Haunter

1st stanza:

"He does not think" - Emma is the narrator and it is her point of view.

"I haunt here nightly" - the frequency of this reminder could be interpreted as Hardy's conscience, especially when it says "my faithful phantom" further on in the poem.

"his fancy sets him wandering" - this could be her motive - to see if he stays faithful and loyal now that she is dead

"only listen thereto!" - she is frustrated that she cannot interact with him.

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Beginnings - Neutral Tones

1st stanza:

"winter day" - pathetic fallacy - end of the relationship because of its coldness

"sun was white" - greyscale colour symbolism - no brightness within the relationship

"chidden of God" - rebukement of the relationship through blasphemy

"few leaves lay on the starving sod" - the leaves are dead, and nothing is growing, as the sod is starved, like the relationship

"fallen from an ash and were gray" - the relationship deteriorated, 'ash' has connotations with death and the relationship is colourless.

The negative imagery and language combined with the natural imagery shows that Hardy is pessimistic from the start, and there is no anticipated change in opinion

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Beginnings - Convergence of the Twain

Stanza 1, 2 and 3

"solitude of the sea" - shows that the ship is lonely because it doesn't belong, and it is "deep from human vanity" that made it.

"Pride of Life" - this could be interpreted as one of the 7 deadly sins, or as hamartia, which is 'pride before a fall' - in which case it would foreshadow its end

"chambers...pyres" - funeral language - foreshadows tragedy and death

"mirrors...glass the opulent" - vain and lavish - gluttony, another one of the 7 deadly sins

"sea-worm - grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent" - 'sea-worm' is an unattractive term for ship, followed up by the ugly adjectives, contrasting with 'beautiful' nature. Also, notice the caesura of the dash - this shows that nature breaks it up, and it will defeat humans.

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