D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Discord in Childhood” is often interpreted as presenting a child’s recollection of overhearing the child’s parents quarreling. The poem begins with the phrase “Outside the house.” We normally think of houses as places of comfort and protection; we often think of anything outside a house as potentially threatening or as literally outside of our control.
Ironically, in this poem whatever seems threatening outside the house will seem considerably less terrifying than the dangers that exist inside. The rest of line 1, with its description of how “an ash-tree hung its terrible whips,” immediately marks this poem as a non- or even anti-Romantic text. Nature is not presented here, as it is presented so often in Romantic poems, as beautiful, comforting, or consoling.
Instead, the speaker emphasizes the dark and dangerous aspects of nature, which are especially symbolized by a storm. The next three lines refer to violent actions and unpleasant sounds....
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