The Convergence of the Twain

Themes and tecniques in The Convergence of the Twain

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The Convergence of the Twain:

Structure and tone:

  • Regular rhyme scheme-Hardy commonly uses a regular rhyme scheme in his poems
  • Line length varies from short to long-could represent the sea
  • Expect it to be sympathetic due to the tragedy of the event happening very recently before the poem was written
  • In reality Hardy adopts a critical, condemning tone, criticising humanity and taking no pity on the loss of lives

Hardy as a naturalist:

  • "sea-worm", "moon-faced fishes", "vaingloriousess down here"
  • illustrations of his love for nature and therefore as a result his criticism of industry
  • "vaingloriousness down here" suggests its foreign and doesnt belong in the natural world
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Themes:

Humanity and its faults:

  • "Deep from human vanity"-literally, the boat has sunk and is now far from humanity or metaphorically, human vanity was the cause of it sinking
  • "mirrors"-reflect what is in front, beautiful, affluent people yet doesn't show what is inside...
  • ...juxtaposes the "sea worm...grotesque"-metaphor for arrogance and vanity. It is "indifferent" suggesting that Hardy doesn't care for the loss they suffered or alternatively suggests that human vanity is indifferent and doesn't care what it hurts
  • "Jewels in joy"-intimating expensive gifts create joy, materialistic, supercilious.
  • "gilded gear" "lie lightless" "sparkles bleared and black and blind"-their affluence and wealth tarnished, corrupted, dead. The sparkles being "blind" could suggest that the lifestyle they have and their wealth is blinding them to the true importance of the world
  • "vaingloriousness"-doesn't belong in the sea with the natural world, suggests it's unnatural, Hardy's critical tone permeates this line
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Themes:

Inevitability:

  • "planned her", "Immanent Will", "urges everything", "prepared a sinister mate", "for the time far and dissociate", "as the smart ship grew" in the sea "grew the Iceberg too", "alien they seemed to be", "later history", "bent", "coincident"
  • Hardy believed in fate and destiny and, as illustrates by The Convergence of the Twain, believed that this event was an inevitable consequence of the nature of humanity
  • He suggestes that the world was pivoted around this event
  • This can be justified as historically, many infuential, powerful people were on the boat when it sunk

Iceberg and boat as one:

  • "mate", "intimate welding", "conummation comes", "jars two hemispheres", "twin halves"
  • intimating you cant have one without the other, they were meant to meet, tragedy supposed to happen
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Themes:

Religion/superstition/supernatural:

  • "Pride of Life"-7 deadly sins, Pride will lead to hell, critical tone
  • "Immanent Will"-omnipotent, inevitable, fate and destiny
  • "Spinner of the Years"-wheel of fortune, personified, supernatural force in control of fate, doesnt explicitly mention God because Hardy had lost faith in the church as an institution
  • "no mortal eye could see"-suggesting that a human couldn't have predicted what happened but it had been planned by a greater force

The Convergence of the Twain focuses largely on the corruption of humanity and the destruction it causes to nature and to itself. Hardy adopts a critical tone here, viewing it as another way humanity has polluted the natural world which, being a naturalist, is what Hardy stood for. Growing up in an extremely faith orientated home, Hardy was experiencing some doubt over religion due to the new ideas and ideologies permeating society about whether God really did create the earth. These doubts are illustrated in this poem as he does not explicity mention God however he does suggest there is a supernatural force in control of fate and destiny.

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