illustrated portrait of English author Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Start Free Trial

In Brontë's poem "Life," what do "life's sunny hours" refer to? According to the poem, how should we respond to those hours?

In Brontë's poem "Life," "life’s sunny hours" refers to the fleeting nature of joyous moments. According to the poem, we should respond to these hours with appreciation.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Charlotte Brontë’s poem “Life,” the phrase "life's sunny hours” refers to the joyous moments of life. In the previous lines, Brontë acknowledges that life is not always “sunny” and great. Life can be disheartening. Yet the unfavorable aspects of life often give rise to forms of delight.

Brontë sums up the relationship between good times and bad times in multiple ways. She notes how rain can lead to a “pleasant day” and how showers “will make the roses bloom.” The budding flowers and the nice day are a part of “life’s sunny hours.” They’re the enjoyable aspects of life that one should respond to with appreciation.

For Brontë, “life’s sunny hours” aren’t permanent. They don’t last forever. As the rain and “clouds of gloom” indicate, Brontë isn’t trying to argue that one can completely protect themselves from life’s struggles. Hardships will inevitably arise. However, one shouldn’t let sorrow stomp out life’s pleasures.

Brontë says that the sunny hours “flit by.” This implies that the sunny hours move quickly. The elusiveness of the sunny hours can be seen as a positive and a negative. It’s a positive because, if the cheerful times flit by a person, it means that they can flit back to them. It’s a negative because, ideally, moments of mirth wouldn’t be so vulnerable to periods of gloom.

As stated earlier, Brontë appears to believe that people should be grateful for “life’s sunny hours.” They shouldn’t mourn their passing. They should be resolute and confident that, no matter how gloomy things get, the sunny hours will come their way again soon.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team