“Echo” written by Walter De La Mare
“Who called?” I said, and the words
Through the whispering glades,
Hither, thither, baffled the birds–
“Who called? Who called?”
In the first stanza of his poem, he gives us hints of this character being alone from the repeating of his echoing, “Who called? Who called?” “Through the whispering glades” meaning an empty space in the forest, this doesn’t necessary mean an forest, could represent the character’s mind. In the first stanza also tells of the character is unpleasant. “Hither, thither, baffled the birds”. Hither and thither both mean the coming of birds. When we think of birds, we think freedom and not chained down but the word baffled in front of the word birds, means something happened. If the author were talking about freedom, why would he put that word that, simply indicating that what’s happening is far from good, the opposite of being free perhaps? “The coming of something that chains the character down” could be in different words the author is trying to suggest.
The leafy boughs on high
Hissed in the sun;
The dark air carried my cry
So far, we’ve seen that the author uses nature to describe or hint the character’s emotions. The second stanza is proof that nature has a main part in describing the character and maybe even the meaning the poem. “The leafy boughs on high”, means the “main” part of the branch, resaying nature is the main branch of the poem. The second stanza also has the evidence that the character is depressed. “Hissed in the sun” Hissed mean a sharp note but can also mean displeasure. Figuring out that hissed could mean displeasure, resaying it would be” displeasure of the sun” The sun signals warm, light and hope, but saying there’s a displeasure to that could mean the opposite. “The dark air carried my cry” The author uses words of negativity, nature is
also darken here, evidence that nature connects with the character. We for sure know that the character is depressed.
Eyes in the green, in the shade,
In the motionless brake,
Voices that said what I said,
For mockery’s sake:
Green is the color of life, healing, growth and harmony. “Eyes in the green, in the shade. Saying it is in the shade, just decreases all those qualities of the color green to less to even nothing. “In the motionless brake” Says that this character is basically stuck in the shade. Stuck in depression, not being able to move on. In the third stanza, we see that the character is frozen in his sorrow. In this stanza, we also figure out why the character feels the way he feels and why the poem maybe called “Echo”. “Voices I said what I said” What the character says” “For mockery sake” The character’s voice is a reflection of what people say to him or her. Mocking him or her again and again like a never-ending echo causing depression within the character. Going back to the first stanza, “Hither, thither, baffled the birds” now can be answered. What is causing the restriction of the character is people’s mockery.
“Who cares?” I bawled through my tears;
the wind fell low:
In the silence, “Who cares? who cares?”
Wailed to and fro.
Saying the words “Who cares” This signals strongest of the character but the continuation of “I bawled through my tears” signals that this character if at the point of giving up, the character can’t stand it anymore. “ The wind fell low” Wind shows force and strength. The wind fell low saying lost in power and will. Here the wind represents the Character losing his will and strength, he or she has given up by this part of the poem. “In the silence, who cares? Who cares? Shows that the character can only think of the mockery, even if alone, that is all the character can think about. The character has given up is in the evidence of “Wailed to and fro”. Wailed to and fro means a high cry of angry and sorrow. The poem ends there meaning the character is unable move on from this and continues to always think the way he or she does now. If the character were to move on, the poem would not end like that but different.
If a person were to read the poem many time, he or she probably wouldn’t be able to get it. Analyzing every part of the poem brought me to this conclusion, which shows that analyzing is very important in developing anything. Finding the definition is just one part of it. Identifying literary devices or tone is important as well. Is a lot of work but is important.