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How does Thomas Hardy convey a sense of isolation in the poem "Nobody Comes"?

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lcch | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:44 PM via web

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How does Thomas Hardy convey a sense of isolation in the poem "Nobody Comes"?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM (Answer #1)

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Thomas Hardy’s poem “Nobody Comes” has an ethereal quality.  Its melancholy tone communicates a sadness as he waits for someone who does not come.

Typical of Hardy’s poetry in later life, the poem is based on an actual event in his life.  His second wife, thirty years younger than Hardy, had to have a tumor removed in London. Hardy’s younger brother picked her up and brought to their home.  This poem refers to Hardy waiting for their return. 

The poem takes the form of a sonnet with fourteen lines and a set rhyme scheme.  The narration is first person with the poet serving as the narrator.

Using visual imagery, Hardy describes a windy evening with the narrator looking out the window waiting. Through the trees, he sees a faint light which fades into the darkness. Employing personification, a telegraph wire leading into town hums to people who pass by as though a ghostly lyre is played by a phantom player.

It appears that the poet’s intention was to create an atmosphere of mystery and eeriness. His vocabulary choice replicates a disturbing night: fainting, succumbs, crawl, darkening land, spectral hand.  All odd words to describe an ordinary, windy night.  Something is afoot! Or possibly, the narrator’s imagination plays tricks on him.

In the second stanza, a car drives up, with its bright light shining on a tree.  Sadly, it has nothing to do with the poet.   The car “whangs” [onomatopoeia] traveling along going to its own destination; it leaves black smoke as it goes.

The black air coming from the car may also indicate how the poet feels once he realizes this car did not hold the person or people that he expected to come.  Loneliness abounds as he stands alone waiting, and no one comes to join him.

 A car comes up, with lamps full-glare
That flash upon a tree: It has nothing to do with me

Silently, the poet stands by the gate alone with not a soul coming to see him.  The poem begins and ends with the isolating word “nobody.”

And mute by the gate I stand again alone,
And nobody pulls up there.

Sources:

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aanchii128 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:53 AM (Answer #2)

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The poem 'Nobody Comes' was written in the year 1924 by Thomas Hardy. The poem refers to Hardy waiting for her wife's return from the station as she went to some other place for a medical treatment. The poem deals with the frustration, loneliness and how impatient Hardy has become as the pace of time has slowed down or him. The poet has used literacy devices such as alliteration, personification, visual imagery, onomatopoeia, contrast, etc. to bring out the frustration of the endless waiting and the impatience and disappointment Hardy is right now.

The first three 

The first three lines of stanza 1, show us the change of time and day and also tells us that time never stops for anyone. There is personification used in “tree- leaves labour” which emphasizes on hard work. “Fainting Light” describes the time of the day when the sun is setting down which is also known as twilight. In the third line of the stanza “crawl of the night” talks about how night is moving slowly and the time passing by unhurriedly. Usage of word “crawl” describes the disappointment Hardy has as the pace of time has showed down for him. The phrase “telegraph wire” represents the era of time (1924) and also gives us a hint about the technology. This line tells us that the technology is not helping him as it is not telling him where his wife is and how she is right now. The technology is not serving its purpose. Last three lines of the stanza create a ghostly “spectral” auditory imagery bringing some bad or ominous coming ahead of him. This creates isolation.

The second stanza starts with a visual imagery of a car coming up with the lights on which upon a tree but as the car passes by Hardy, he gets to know that the car wasn’t his car. The poet further describes the movement of the car by telling us that it is blowing horns in a world of its own leaving the black smoke and making the air black also. This shows how Hardy, the world has become selfish not caring to stop. And now he is standing all alone with the black air and nobody further pulls up there. Everything around him is very silent now which is again making him feel ignorant and lonely. There is onomatopoeia used in “whangs” which again creates a auditory of the car honking. In this stanza Hardy is behaving as if he is standing in a crowd and is still lost and lonely.

Nobody comes is a sonnet, 2 stanza poem with 7 lines in each stanza. The poem describes/ relates it to a particular moment in Hardy’s life which tells us that the poem is self’ experienced.

There is a contrast between loud and silent which creates loneliness.

The poem deals with the themes of frustration of the endless waiting, feeling of isolation and loneliness, essence of the moment has been encapsulated and understanding the importance of his wife through the long waiting.

The tone of the poem is sad: fainting light, darkening land, spectral land; hopeless: and nobody pulls up, telegraph wire; depressed: alone, up and down; lonely- he is devastated by the waiting for her, nothing to do with me, mute by the gate I stand again alone, nobody pulls up there.

There is a constant movement of slow to fast. At the beginning of the stanza it is slow- crawl, spectral lyre, fainting light. Eventually in the second stanza it becomes a little fast as the car approaches and the hope rises as we think that Hardy’s wife has finally arrived but as we get to know that the car isn’t for him, the hope also dies making the movement also slow.

The message of the poem is one can only value the worth of the moment when you have experienced it. Even if we are technology advanced, we cannot do much to minimized the gap.

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aanchii128 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2015 at 9:54 AM (Answer #3)

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The poem 'Nobody Comes' was written in the year 1924 by Thomas Hardy. The poem refers to Hardy waiting for her wife's return from the station as she went to some other place for a medical treatment. The poem deals with the frustration, loneliness and how impatient Hardy has become as the pace of time has slowed down or him. The poet has used literacy devices such as alliteration, personification, visual imagery, onomatopoeia, contrast, etc. to bring out the frustration of the endless waiting and the impatience and disappointment Hardy is right now.

The first three lines of stanza 1, show us the change of time and day and also tells us that time never stops for anyone. There is personification used in “tree- leaves labour” which emphasizes on hard work. “Fainting Light” describes the time of the day when the sun is setting down which is also known as twilight. In the third line of the stanza “crawl of the night” talks about how night is moving slowly and the time passing by unhurriedly. Usage of word “crawl” describes the disappointment Hardy has as the pace of time has showed down for him. The phrase “telegraph wire” represents the era of time (1924) and also gives us a hint about the technology. This line tells us that the technology is not helping him as it is not telling him where his wife is and how she is right now. The technology is not serving its purpose. Last three lines of the stanza create a ghostly “spectral” auditory imagery bringing some bad or ominous coming ahead of him. This creates isolation.

The second stanza starts with a visual imagery of a car coming up with the lights on which upon a tree but as the car passes by Hardy, he gets to know that the car wasn’t his car. The poet further describes the movement of the car by telling us that it is blowing horns in a world of its own leaving the black smoke and making the air black also. This shows how Hardy, the world has become selfish not caring to stop. And now he is standing all alone with the black air and nobody further pulls up there. Everything around him is very silent now which is again making him feel ignorant and lonely. There is onomatopoeia used in “whangs” which again creates a auditory of the car honking. In this stanza Hardy is behaving as if he is standing in a crowd and is still lost and lonely.

Nobody comes is a sonnet, 2 stanza poem with 7 lines in each stanza. The poem describes/ relates it to a particular moment in Hardy’s life which tells us that the poem is self’ experienced.

There is a contrast between loud and silent which creates loneliness.

The poem deals with the themes of frustration of the endless waiting, feeling of isolation and loneliness, essence of the moment has been encapsulated and understanding the importance of his wife through the long waiting.

The tone of the poem is sad: fainting light, darkening land, spectral land; hopeless: and nobody pulls up, telegraph wire; depressed: alone, up and down; lonely- he is devastated by the waiting for her, nothing to do with me, mute by the gate I stand again alone, nobody pulls up there.

There is a constant movement of slow to fast. At the beginning of the stanza it is slow- crawl, spectral lyre, fainting light. Eventually in the second stanza it becomes a little fast as the car approaches and the hope rises as we think that Hardy’s wife has finally arrived but as we get to know that the car isn’t for him, the hope also dies making the movement also slow.

The message of the poem is one can only value the worth of the moment when you have experienced it. Even if we are technology advanced, we cannot do much to minimized the gap.

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