The Darkling Thrush Questions and Answers
by Thomas Hardy

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What are the poetic devices to represent the meaning of the poem "Darkling Thrush"? The poetic devices in particular are imagery, alliteration, sense of sound, and sense of sight.

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Thomas Hardy evokes a bleak and wintry mood through imagery in the poem's opening stanza as the speaker observes that "Frost was spectre-grey," and he stood amidst "Winter's dregs." The harvest is long past and the natural world is desolate as people have fled the landscape to their homes and hearths.

Sounds that the speaker describes emphasize the bleakness of the landscape through winds he likens to a "death-lament."

The darkling thrush who will ultimately turn the mood in the mood arrives in a flourish of alliteration with "blast-beruffled" plumage; it is, to the eye, "frail, gaunt, and small." However, once the thrush begins its evening song, the speaker is filled with hope. The reason for its song, alliteratively described as "cause for carolings" is unknown, but it is filled with joy and instills in the speaker the idea that though he cannot yet see or sense it, the bird knows that there is deliverance ahead from the benighted landscape of winter.

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Imagery is descriptive language that is used to create a picture in a person’s head.  This includes both figurative language and sensory details.

One way that style is used for meaning is through the use of figurative language.  For example, the speaker talks about the “weakening eye of day,” as the end of the day, which is personification.  Personification is a type of metaphor where something nonhuman, such as day, is compared to something human.

Another type of figurative language is a simile.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky 
Like strings of broken lyres (lines 5-6)

In this case, this is a simile because it uses the word “like” to compare the stems to strings of lyres.  Both of these examples, and the others in the poem, create a picture in the reader’s mind.

Sensory language is also used to bring out images.  Words like “crypt” and “sharp features” create a definite and creepy picture.  Much of the poem uses these dark images.

Alliteration is when intial sounds are repeated, such as "His crypt the cloudy canopy," which also adds to this dark meaning.

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