illustrated portrait of English author Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

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Why is the phrase "clouds of gloom" apt in Charlotte Brontë's poem "Life"?

Quick answer:

The phrase "clouds of gloom" is apt in the poem "Life" because it is part of an extended metaphor in which the harsher parts of life are compared to rainy weather, which is temporary.

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"Clouds of gloom" is apt in the poem "Life" because Brontë's speaker uses rainy weather as an extended metaphor for the way dark or hard times in our lives are transient or temporary. She is arguing that just as rain comes and goes quickly, so do the unhappy moments of our lives.

She starts the metaphor or comparison by stating that it might be rainy in the morning but that rain is often a sign that the afternoon will be sunny. She then goes on to talk of "clouds of gloom," which may look dark and foreboding but quickly move away. Finally, she speaks of the way rain showers are necessary to make the flowers grow. Why then, she asks, should we complain of a little rain?

We shouldn't get stuck in the less pleasant moments of our lives, the speaker argues, but should realize that they will pass and that the sun, or happiness, will return again. Using clouds to represent gloom thus fits with the idea that the bad precedes the good and leads to growth. As we can see, this is an optimistic poem that calls on the reader to face life bravely, knowing that the worst events are not all there is to life. Brontë faced a good deal of suffering in her own life, so she spoke from experience.

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