The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush book cover
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Please provide a summary of "The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy. 

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Remember when everyone was excited and anxious about the “Y2K” or the change from the twentieth to the twenty-first century.  In 1899, Thomas Hardy felt the same way when the end of the nineteenth century came and the  twentieth century began.  “The Darkling Thrush” speaks about this phenomenon which only happens every hundred years.

The narration is first person point of view with an unknown person as the speaker. The narrator becomes like the representative for the “Turn of the Century”; consequently, without defining characteristics, the narrator becomes an any man or everyman who stands at the eve of a new day or time.  

The setting is a wintry landscape.  Everything has lost it leaves with everything  dark and gray.  The time is evening with the wind blowing.  The scene seems desolate.

There are four stanzas with eight lines per verse. Every stanza follows the same rhyme scheme: every other line rhymes. 

I leant upon a coppice gate (A)
When Frost was spectre-gray, (B)
And Winter's dregs made desolate (A)
The weakening eye of day. (B)
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky (C)
Like strings of broken lyres, (D)
And all mankind that haunted nigh (C)
Had sought their household fires. (D)

The poem is divided into two parts.  The first two stanzas metaphorically compare the wintry landscape exposing a cold, bleak night to the end of the last century.    In the last two verses, something brightens the outlook for the new century giving hope that times will be better.

1st Stanza

The speaker leans against a gate formed by bushes or brush. The winter and frost have made the landscape appear dreary and uninviting.   The sun is going down, and there are intertwined, unadorned branches...

(The entire section contains 588 words.)

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