Please analyse "Lights Out" by Edward Thomas.Specific detail to textual devices, symbols, versification and structure.

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kschweiz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Thomas uses enjambment, the breaking of a phrase into multiple lines or verses, to evoke a certain mood in the reader--namely, one which matches the tone he is using. As an example, in the first verse, he uses enjambment to help the reader feel as lost or disjointed as he does at the time just before he falls asleep:

I have come to the borders of sleep,

The unfathomable deep

Forest where all must lose

Their way, however straight,

Or winding, soon or late;

They cannot choose.

Themes in this poem include sleep: first defined as resting, alluring as a deep, dark forest, and then as death, unavoidable yet perhaps pleasant after the difficult tasks of life. Thomas refers to the towering foliage in the final verse, using imagery as he states that it is structured "shelf above shelf." He then states "That I may lose my way/And myself," which indicates a surrendering to either death or sleep, whichever theme by this point that the reader feels is most congruent. It seems that when the author suggests the "foliage lowers," he might be suggesting that nature is enveloping him once more, as we return to dust in death.

As with much of Thomas's poetry, this piece deals vaguely in human alienation, or at least solitude, as man must go to sleep--or his death--essentially alone.

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