How is childhood glorified in Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill"?

Quick answer:

Childhood has been glorified in "Fern Hill" through positive imagery of the author's childhood life and the happy, yet reminiscent tone throughout the poem.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Fern Hill” is a poem by Dylan Thomas. In this poem, the poet reminisces about his childhood. We can see that in the first line, which reads “as I was young,” a clear indication of the fact that the poet is talking about the time when he was a child.

He recreates his childhood by describing the physical surroundings of his memories in detail, such as the “lilting house”, the “apple boughs” and the “daisies and barley,” which help the reader to imagine the rural landscape in which the poem is set. This positive and inviting description of his surroundings clearly create an optimistic image, which underline the poet’s fond childhood memories.

The poet also uses very positive words, such as “happy yard” and “it was lovely,” which further underline the fact that the poet is glorifying his childhood.

In addition to describing the surroundings, the poet also recreates his happy childhood memories by describing his activities on the farm. He tells us that he was “singing” and that “time let (him) play.” The poet also tells us that he used to engage in imaginative play by pretending to be a “huntsman and herdsman.” These are all activities that a reader would easily associate with a happy childhood. Therefore, these descriptions further help the reader to imagine the poet as a child. They send a clear positive message about the poet’s innocent days as a child.

This is further underlined by the lamenting tone of the very last stanza. Here, the poet shows us how he misses his innocent childhood days. We can see that the poet is lamenting the loss of his childhood, for example, in the line “oh as I was young.” The exclamation “oh” has been chosen by the poet in order to express his regret. This highlights the poet’s fond and glorified memories of his childhood.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial