Does the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield suggest that people ever find the things they seek?"Sea Fever" by John Masefield

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Now this is a fascinating issue to discuss in relation to this poem. The first time I ever read this poem I had a very strong impression of an old grizened sailor in some kind of retirement home left to dwell passionately on the adventures that he had experienced in his life on the sea but also incredibly saddened by the way that his declinining health meant that he was unable to ever sail again. There is no evidence from the poem that points towards the speaker being viewed in this way, but I felt (and still feel partly) that the desperate desire of the speaker to return to the sea and the way that this desire is repeated throughout the poem, but with no indication that this desire is ever met, strongly suggests that the "Sea Fever" that dominates the speaker is not able to be satisfied, and the speaker is left by himself to repeat the strong visual images he remembers of his life on the sea. He perhaps is unable to realise that his desire will never be fulfilled due to his ailing condition, which would add an element of pathos to the poem.

However, whether or not you agree with my particular reading of the poem, it is clear in relation to your question that whilst the intense desire to return to the sea is expressed clearly, there is no indication anywhere in the poem that the speaker gets what he wants, indicating that in spite of our fervent and passionate longings, we don't always get what we want in life.

We’ve answered 317,410 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question