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Comment on the style of "The Darkling Thrush."
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High School Teacher
One aspect of the style of this poem is the extensive use that Hardy makes of personification in the way he bestows human qualities on the landscape. This is achieved in a number of different areas, but most significantly through the comparison of the bleak landscape that the speaker surveys to the corpse of the nineteenth century as it passes, metaphorically, into death and the twentieth century takes its place:
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The dying throes of the nineteenth century are therefore captured through this personification as the passing century is compared in a series of visual images to a dying human who is on the point of expiring and laid out ready for death.
Another stylistic aspect of the poem is the way in which Hardy has a tendency to use new vocabulary and create new words to capture and describe the scenes and emotions he was trying to convey. An anecdotal story about this concerns one of his novels. When he re-read this work years after writing it, he came across a word that he didn't know the meaning of. When he looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, it contained the meaning of the word, also stating that it was only used once in the English Language by Thomas Hardy who had invented the word! Such linguistic creativity can be seen in words such as "outleant" and "darkling" and also his creation of compound adjectives such as "spectre-grey" and "death-lament."
Posted by accessteacher on March 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM (Answer #1)
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