Any time that one is writing about the symbolism in poetry, the critic/writer must be sure to examine the impact the symbols have on the poem itself.
Important questions to ask when writing about a poem's symbolism are:
1. What are the symbols used in the poem?
2. How do the symbols support coherence or incoherence?
3. Do the symbols used fit into groups? (Are groups assigned by color, abstract ideas, concrete ideas, implied, or explicit?)
4. How do the symbols impact the mood of the poem?
5. How do the symbols impact understanding for the reader?
6. Do the symbols provide a deeper understanding for the reader or do they alienate the reader?
7. Have the use of the symbols changed over time? Does the meaning of the symbol now alienate the reader because of the different meaning?
8. Has the meaning of the poem changed because of the poet's use of symbols and the understanding of the symbols by the reader?
Therefore, when looking at Tennyson's poem "Maud," one should be sure to examine the symbol of darkness. There are many different references to darkness and one must find all of them, define the symbols used, and decide how they are used in the poem.