illustrated portrait of English author Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

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What message does the poet give us in "Life" by Charlotte Brontë?

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The message in Charlotte Brontë’s poem “Life” is that we should be hopeful rather than hopeless and optimistic rather than pessimistic. In the first stanza, Brontë lists a series of weather events which are usually perceived as negative and shows why each should in fact be perceived as positive. When “clouds of gloom” gather overhead, she says we should remember that they are “transient all,” and that these showers “will make the roses bloom.” The clouds are, of course, metaphorical and allude generally to hard times. Likewise, the roses are metaphorical and allude generally to good times. The message is firstly that bad times will soon enough give way to good ones, and also that bad times are often necessary precursors to good ones.

In the third stanza, Brontë describes hope as “elastic,” meaning that no matter what pressure is exerted upon it, hope will always return. Hope is then described as having “golden wings . . . strong to bear us well.” The message of the poem is emphasized in the final line, in which Brontë asserts that “courage can quell despair!” The tone here is rather defiant. It’s as if Brontë refuses to accept the dominion of death and sorrow and instead is determined to see only hope and courage.

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The central message of the poem "Life" by Charlotte Brontë is optimism. Brontë talks about the transience of negative situations, advocating for a "This too shall pass" attitude towards them.

She says that life is not "So dark as sages say." Like most poets, she uses rain to symbolize the troubles of life, but she says that the rain often "Foretells a pleasant day" and causes flowers to bloom, so there is no reason to "lament its fall." In other words, bad things happen for a reason, and for every cloud, there is a silver lining.

She says that even if death takes away our loved ones, and sorrow "seems to win, / O'er hope," hope—personified here as an angel or other celestial being with wings—will always return, bouncing back like elastic.

Finally, she urges us to bear our troubles as stalwartly as we can, for "victoriously, / Can courage quell despair."

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