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In the poem "I Have Visited Again", by Alexander Pushkin, how do the types of images...

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kittie | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted October 25, 2012 at 1:28 AM via web

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In the poem "I Have Visited Again", by Alexander Pushkin, how do the types of images relate to the poem's theme?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 25, 2012 at 4:00 AM (Answer #1)

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Alexander Pushkin's "I Have Visited Again" uses sentimental and warm images to support his theme of "coming home." The poem begins with the following lines:

…I have visited again

That corner of the earth where I spent two

Unnoticed, exiled years.

The word "exiled" may be misleading—usually negative, it does not have that effect here since it is a metaphor for time spent with his Nurse (perhaps to nurse her in her old age) but his "exile" was unnoticed—he greatly enjoyed this place for two years.

Instead of writing with sadness (inferred by "exile"), the speaker describes memories that he holds dear. His "old nurse" is gone—we assume she is dead. We can infer that she cared for him even though it was hard:

No more behind the wall

Do I hear her heavy footsteps as she moved

Slowly, painstakingly about her tasks.

His memories recall the age that hung on her—how she took care of him, despite her pain. We can also infer that he remembers her fondly—for the sacrifices she made; after all, his "exile" was hers as well, and perhaps it was especially difficult for her out in the country.

Because of his "unnoticed exile," there is no pain in his recollections, but a fondness that he now revisits. He knew the land: it was a regular companion—

Here are the wooded slopes where often I

Sat motionless, and looked down at the lake,

Recalling other shores and other waves...

He spent time before looking off and remembering where he used to live. He describes the beauty of the water and the land that surrounds it in the present:

It gleams between golden cornfields and green meadows...

The speaker on this day sees a fisherman with an "ancient net," and the sails of the windmill that struggle to turn because the mill has grown "crooked" over time. There is the sense here of timelessness—where things move much the way they have for many, many years, even before he arrived twelve years before.

This land belonged to his family (and still might); he refers to it as his "ancestral acres." This continues the sense of time: for the land has been in his family for generations. We can safely assume that the satisfaction he found here is tied most closely with the trees at the top of the road.

There are three trees, which he rode under beneath the moonlight. The trees "spoke" to him in a welcoming way. When he rode on horseback with the trees above him, he would hear:

The friendly rustling murmur of their crowns...

And the sound of the moving leaves "welcomed" him. There can be no doubt now that he found pleasure in this spot. Seemingly, he was allowed to move freely, especially evident if he was on his horse at night. Around the base of the two of the trees, where nothing used to grow, there are now "young pines," sprouting "like green children." The third tree stands some distance away, "morose, / Like some old bachelor," and nothing grows around it. It has no "children." 

The speaker's greeting of the trees excludes the solitary tree. And the speaker notes that while he will not be returning to this place again, his grandson might. And when coming home one night from perhaps a party, in a happy mood, he will hear the trees and think of the speaker.

The initial image of "exile" and the old single tree may symbolize what someone had intended for him when he was sent there years before—a solitary lonely existence. However, what he found was beauty and family seen in images of nature—dear memories that he hopes his grandson will one day enjoy.

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