What is the significance of the title of the poem "Uphill" by Christina Georgina Rossetti?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the poem 'Uphill' by Christina Rosetti, the poem's title aligns well with other language in the poem that alludes to the theme of 'work.' Everyone knows what it is like to try to progress up a hill - it is harder than going downhill, or walking on the level. It requires more effort, burns more calories and is more tiring. Christina Rosetti is sure to enquire whether there will be respite from all this hard work, rest and recuperation such as bed and board or good company like that of fellow travellers. Other language such as 'long' and 'labor' and 'slow' emphasise the tiring quality of the journey and the hardness of the going. However, whether it is the long road to spiritual heaven or just the long road of life,the answerer (God, friends gone before etc.) reassures her that she will be rewarded by rest and company and security.

epollock | Student


Christina Rossetti’s nineteenth-century allegorical vision takes us on an “uphill” spiritual journey that is strenuous and wearying at best.

The one who asks the questions seems to be a searching, striving mortal, for he or she has not yet reached that “resting place.” The other speaker’s been there, whether it be God, an ex-traveler, an angel, a spirit. It is clear that the second speaker knows about this final resting place at the “inn.” Life is a road that takes “the whole long day” to bring us “to the very end.” The night is death that awaits us at the end of the journey. That journey, as seen by the earnest Victorians, is “uphill all the way”; it is a struggle to maintain highmindedness that leaves us “travel-sore and weak.” But the inn—heaven or immortality—provides rest and comfort. We will there be reunited with those “who have gone before.” There will be “beds for all who come”—meaning all those who earnestly seek for spiritual significance in their lives. (Those frivolous souls who spend their time carousing and sleeping off their hangovers are not likely to make it to that promised final “resting place”.)