'A Peasant' R.S. Thomas

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  • Created by: keisha_
  • Created on: 16-06-16 13:37

In 'A Peasant', the peasant Iago Prytherch is emotionless. R.S Thomas writes from a more realistic point of view of the countryside instead of presenting it as edenic. The shepherd who lives in the 'bald welsh hills' symbolises how hard working anf tough life in the country really is. Dynamic verbs 'docking', 'chipping', 'churning' reinforce this point. 

The landscape is constantly referred to using the semantic field of war showing that man and nature are constantly in battle. Iago is described as the 'winner of wars' and nature is described as bringing a 'seige' of rain. This defies the normal theme of man and nature working together in harmony. 

Nature does not provide for the peasant and this another element that defies the typical pastoral. The sky is 'gaunt' providing no sunlight and therefore the hills remain 'bald' as the grass won't grow so therefore there is nothing for his sheep to graze on. 

The 'crude earth' proves hard to 'churn' therefore showing hard physical labour, not leisure like in the usual pastoral idyll. 

Man and the elements are presented as equally strong.

This poem has the element of the pastoral and the anti pastoral. It seems at first to mock Iago as it calls him 'vacant' but then later on he is called a 'winner of wars' because he is 'your prototype' he is an earlier version of…

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