I need help writing an essay on the poem 'The Going' by Thomas Hardy.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Going" by Thomas Hardy reflects the grief of the poet upon the death of his wife Emma. It is written in six stanzas, each containing seven lines. Although the line lengths and rhythmic patterns are irregular, the rhyme is consistently ABABCCB.

The first thematic element of the poem is the notion that death comes unexpectedly, and that survivors are never prepared for the death of a beloved spouse. The narrator of the poem, although intellectually aware that his wife is dead, keeps on almost glimpsing his wife and for a second imagining her still alive, and then being struck afresh with grief when these fleeting instants remind him that she is dead.

The second major thematic element is regret for things he did not do or say when she was alive. The speaker thinks backs to difficulties in their relationship, and realizes:

... All’s past amend,

Unchangeable. ...

The poem concludes with the narrator evincing surprise at the extent of his own grief. 

aanchii128 | Student

Thomas Hardy wrote this poem “The Going” after the death of his beloved wife, Emma. I this poem, Hardy have shown how he has been robbed by the sudden death of his wife as he is taken away by his love and happiness which he is guilty and sad about. The poem deals with the themes of loss of love, relationships and time to show the importance of people who are in your life.

In the first stanza, Hardy talks how she left him. The first two lines talks about the night before Emma died and tells us that Hardy is asking Emma why did she not tell him that she was about to die. In the fourth lines ‘close your term’ has been used to show death. The poet has used euphemism in this line. The last line indicates that he cannot see her ever again.

Moving further to second stanza he talks about how everything has around him has changed ‘altered all’. In this stanza he blames Emma about at least to say goodbye when she was going because it was really hard for him to see her not moving. He has also used sarcasm in ‘great going’ because he is angry and not ready to accept that she is gone forever.

The third stanza creates emptiness by the death of his beloved. The stanza begins with the question ‘why do you make me leave the house?’. This tells us that he is haunted by the voice of his wife which is making him leave the house. This stanza also creates an illusionary image of his wife standing at the end of the alley where she used to stand every day. The words ‘darkening dankness’ and ‘yawning blankness’ brings emptiness to the poem. ‘Sickens me’ again shows how he is still not ready to accept the going of his wife.

In the fourth stanza Hardy has talked about the beauty ‘swan-necked’ where he compares the swan’s neck with Emma’s neck to show how beautiful his beloved was. The poet also aware us of the setting in the ‘red-veined rocks far west’ and ‘Beetling Benny crest’. Benny Crest was a place in countryside. Hardy also tells that she was so beautiful that he couldn’t take his eyes of her. In the last line of this stanza Hardy talks about the time when for Emma, he was the only man in her life and it was less tensing for her. He had a happy married life.

Moving on to the fifth stanza he talks about the guilt, regretion and reliving the happy moments of his life. The first two lines clearly show that he is blaming Emma and himself about not talking about those happy moments of their life when they both were together and had a happy, married life. He thinks maybe those things could have helped them in sorting their fights. In the third line he says the ‘ere’ which means before talks about that before he talks could even realize to talk about the happy moments, she was gone. The last four lines speaks of about how there could have been a possibility of them staying together if they had planned on reliving those happy moments of their life again.

The last stanza leaves us with the philosophical thought that it is useless to think and regret about past. Life must always go on ‘unchangeable, it must go’. Hardy has used ‘dead man’ to compare himself as he is becoming aged and he knows that he is going to die soon. ‘not undo me so’ shows that past can never be changed but you can always learn from life and help yourself by not repeating the same mistakes again.

There are six stanzas, each containing 7 long and short lines to show the chaos in Hardy’s life. The first four stanzas are focused on ‘you’- why did you give no hint that night, that your great going, why do you make me leave the house, you were who abode- to show the regretion and also how hardy is not ready that she is gone forever. In the fifth stanza the focus moves onto ‘we’ as a couple like what all things they could have done to improve their relationship. In the last stanza, hardy talks about himself on how he is always going to regret about the loosing of his life.

The title of this poem is aptly. It shows Emma moving onto another world but she is still going to dwell in the poet’s memories forever even if she is physically not there with him. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abacddb. It is stumbling and inconsistent going nowhere like the relationship between hardy and Emma.

The message of the poem is nothing is permanent in life. One should always move on even at the face of adversities. If you are sad, you are not going to be sad forever. You can always fix your future by not repeating the same mistakes and learning something from them.

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The Going

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