Write a short critical appreciation of the poem 'The Going' by Thomas Hardy.

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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'The Going' by Thomas Hardy is a study in Love, Loss, and Laments. It is an elegant poem that concisely presents the emotions of the protagonist of the poem. Immediately, the reader senses the notion of loss with the line:

          You would close your term here, up and be gone

This is excellent foreshadowing of the tone of the rest of the poem. The man in the poem wants to know and understand why there was no indication of the woman preparing to leave him - no hint as he says. This alludes to the fact that he was unaware of problems in the relationship or of her new goals and aspirations in life - destined to be carried out without him.

Especially poignant and moving in the poem is the man leaving the house and searching for the woman. He looks for her and wonders why she's made him leave his abode...

     And think for a breath it is you I see

This indicates his desire to find her and find out why she has taken this action, which produces significant upheaval in both of their lives. Thomas Hardy indicates precisely how this leaving by the love interest is hurting the man; his not being able to find her and look upon her beauty and gracefulness makes him feel sick. This shows the depth of his feelings for the woman. In one line Hardy conveys this sentiment beautifully.

Hardy also conveys how the couple lived life together, always with one another and how Life, in all its configurations was better with her at the man's side. The loss of her confuses him; it makes life less enjoyable, harder to bear, and her leaving affects his outlook on life around him.

The man wonders why they did not speak of hidden unfulfilled desires in the relationship. This alludes to the fact that the man believes they could have worked out any problems.

The end of the poem is illuminating and emotionally-charged. The man indicates he feels as if he's a dead man, spiralling down, and he's surprised himself at his fast deterioration because of his internal torment. Thomas Hardy portrays much about Love and Loss in very few words because of his artistry in efficiently putting thoughts on paper that explore grand themes.



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