Oxen by Thomas Hardy Essay
TP CASTT: Oxen by Thomas Hardy Title- I predict the poem will be about something about an ox. In addition, I predict the oxen in the poem will symbolize strength, so an idea of strength or power might be portrayed. Paraphrase- It is Christmas Eve and an elder is telling the children a story near the fire. The children initially believe the story about Oxen kneeling and did not doubt the fact at all. Years later, the children obviously grow older and eventually do not believe the story the elder told.
However, somewhat wish they did believe the story.
Connotation- Imagery: Metaphor “So fair a fancy would weave” The word fair means beautiful or according to the rules, fancy means play of imagination, and weave means to form cloth by interlacing stands and to the direct the body in a winding or zigzag course especially to avoid obstacles. This basically means that according to what the elders say is considered true and really the effect of the non-supported truth is exciting, because it allows you to play with your imagination, but then it says “few would weave.
This means that the people who do this are probably just doing it to avoid the truth that maybe the truth is just not as exciting as something that requires imagination. To be brief, it can be compared to Santa Claus children usually believe in Santa Claus and when they find out they deny that truth because believing is Santa is just simply fun. Metaphor “I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so. ” : The word gloom means going into darkness or sadness.
The gloom represents darkness but not in the case of absence of light; rather darkness as in distorted truth. What the speaker is saying is that gloom or darkness—distorted truth is better than knowingly living in a reality. The speaker wishes he could go back and believe that the story was actually true, which is compared to religion and hoping it’s actually true. (This sentence is actually symbolism—thought it fits best here) In addition, the “I should go with him . . . part also supports the idea that control is sort of the foundation to the poem, because in the end the speaker wishes he could go with him meaning follow whoever the person may be and the idea of being led by a leader—elder, shepherd, Jesus, religion. Allusion: Flock- A group of animals assembled or herded together; a group under the guidance of a leader. The purpose of the utilization of the word flock is to make a biblical comparison. For instance, flock can represent children and the fact of them being vulnerable and easy to control, which can also be compared to sheep a flock of sheep.
Now these children are being controlled—believe what they are told, because in a sense children are naive, sort of like sheep. Furthermore, it coincides with the idea of the controller of the flock—children, is Jesus, because in the bible Jesus was known as a shepherd and a shepherd is one who leads the flock of sheep. Therefore, the allusion made to the bible establishes a sort of a controlling feeling: these ideas ties in back with the oxen kneeling, which delineates obedience in one who is naive, childish, vulnerable to imagination, and needs to be lead. By the embers in hearthside ease”: The word ember means smoldering remains of fire. Diction: “Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling”: The word “doubt” means to lack confidence in. “Doubt” is well utilized because it conveys the feelings and interpretation children have on the kneeling oxen. The children do not have any doubt or skepticism in their interpretation of the kneeling oxen and take in the story to be valid, which again supports the idea of children are easily convinced and believe what they are told, which all ties back with the controlling idea.
The word “there” is also important, because it shows that the speaker is telling speaking in past tense form meaning the event already occurred. The speaker may be speaking many years later, which is highly possible. Attitude- Shift- The poem is occurring on Christmas Eve at twelve o clock. The reader knows that the poem is being told in past tense because of words like: “we sat,” “pictured,” “nor did it occur to one of us there,” ect . . . . The speaker was told a story by an elder that they—children believed.
Then the shift occurs and is indicated by “In these years” followed by an “!. ” The words and exclamation mark indicate that it is talking about the present now. Then the speaker says “yet” indicating that he wishes he could go back and believe again. This is supported by the attitude of the speaker which is reminiscent, remorseful, and optimistic, because he wishes he could back to the old times where he did believe what he was told or easily believed. Title II- Theme-
In the poem Oxen Thomas Hardy is delineating how religion can be seen as a form of manipulation, which takes people’s minds and makes them believe what they are told. In the poem Oxen Thomas Hardy is conveying how sometimes believing in something that may or not be true is much worth the while and joyous than not believing living a dull life of negativity. In the poem Oxen Thomas Hardy is portraying how one who is young is most likely naive and most likely believes what they are told, while old age symbolizes wisdom.