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How can Tennyson's "In Memoriam"  Section 7 be analysed?  VIIDark house, by which...

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klugermann1 | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted April 12, 2013 at 3:14 PM via web

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How can Tennyson's "In Memoriam"  Section 7 be analysed? 

VII
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,


A hand that can be clasp'd no more—
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.


He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro' the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.  

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

Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:58 PM (Answer #1)

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This classic section of Tennyson's long poem about his battle with grief and doubt captures one moment when, after Hallam's death, Tennyson returns to the house where he lived and where Tennyson spent so much time. The speaker recalls how he used to knock on that door with such anticipation of seeing his friend. However, the speaker is full of the awareness that the "hand" he waits for "can be clasp'd no more." The overwhelming power of this grief has transformed the speaker utterly into a "guilty thing" who is left to "creep" around early in the morning, haunted by his grief. One of the most powerful stanzas of this section of the poem is the final stanza:

He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro' the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.

The juxtaposition of the speaker's terrible grief with the sounds of normal life beginning again is highlighted through the pathetic fallacy of the rain mirroring the sadness of the speaker and also the alliteration of the "b" sounds in the final line, perfectly capturing the speaker's disbelief at the harshness of life, that can continue without pause or halt, whilst he is unable to move on in his life because of his grief and loss.

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