Remembrance by Emily Bronte is an elegy and contains a lot of negative imagery
Remembrance by Emily Bronte is an elegy and contains a lot of negative imagery. The poem has a string link with nature and has lots of information about nature this is probably due to Emily’s background as a child where she was fascinated by nature and enjoyed her own company rather than that of others and it was here when she was alone she learned to appreciate nature. Examples of Emily’s knowledge of nature can be seen strongly in the second verse in particular as she makes lots of references such as ‘Over the mountains’, ‘that northern shore’ and ‘where heath and fern leaves cover’. There are many other examples in the poem but many I talk about later on in the essay.
The poem is about a person losing a loved one and her feeling towards the loved one now the persons gone. The losing of a loved one is a common theme in Emily’s poems although usually it is the mother as this creates a motherless character which relates to Emily herself as she lost her mother when she was only three years old. The poem informs the reader how she cant love anyone how she loved the lost one I believe the loved one she talks about in the poem is her mother and the poem is about her as Patrick Bronte had lovers after the death of Emily’s mother and I believe that the poem is about Emily’s feeling towards these women that none of these people can replace her mother.
Another reason why I believe that the poem is about Emily is that I feel that it shows her enjoyment of being isolated in her own world (Gondal), words such as ‘dreams’ related to Gondal as it was in her dreams when she visited Gondal. Another phrase that could represent Gondal could be ‘No later light has lightened up my heaven’. Her heaven, a perfect world could be a reference to Gondal.
Emily opens Remembrance with lots of negative images. ‘Cold in the Earth’ is an image of a cold dead body buried in the ground. This body is the loved one talked about in the poem. Deep snow piled above thee. Snow is an image of winter which personifies death a links in with the cold in the earth opening. The world piled sounds unnatural as if someone has piled the snow and it hasn’t landed there naturally. The wording of thee at the end of the lines tells the reader that it is a person in the earth; it makes it sound more personal.
‘Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave’
Far, far removed is about the body and the repetition and isolation of far add emphasis on how alone and out of the way the body is.
Cold is again a negative image and is repeated from the opening line and therefore has a deeper effect on the reader.
The following line ‘Have I forgot my love, to love thee’ is ironic, she’s asking the question have I forgot my love but obviously hasn’t since she is talking about it.
Emily uses personification in the final line of the opening verse with ‘Severed at last by times all severing wave?’ It is relating to the death of the loved one. Also it ends with a question mark yet there is no obvious question in the line. I do not understand the reason for this being here.
‘Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover’
This relates to Emily as she likes to be alone and she feels best when alone but when she is with people maybe she feels intimidated or scared so she wont seem normal and this is what she meant when she wrote ‘when alone do my thoughts no longer hover’ she can only act normal when alone.
The second and third verse both contains images of angels. ‘Resting their wings’ and ‘spirit’ are both strong religious images. These are significant because they show the reader she had a religious understanding which she got form from her background with her father being a priest.
Other words with religious significance in Remembrance include ‘Faithful’ which relates to any religion means being loyal to the subject. Emily was faithful to her loved one and is still faithful to the spirit of the loved one.
Heaven is another religious word in Remembrance but it has a different to meaning to Emily. Heaven is the habitat for God and his angels but Emily’s heaven is in her dreams and thoughts and is most likely to be Gondal. Heaven is probably the habitat for her and the loved one.
Remembrance also has lot of water imagery which is quite a common theme in Emily Bronte poems. ‘Stars’ is another Bronte poem with strong water imagery. ‘Stars’ had negative water imagery with words such as sank and sea which related to drowning. In remembrance we have strong water images with words such as wave, shore, tide and drinking. Then possibly snow, melted and tears could be seen as images of water as well.
Midway through Remembrance Emily wrote two lines both starting with ‘All my life’s bliss’. One line ends with life and the other ends with death but both lines have a sad depressing meaning. ‘All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given’ means all the happiness her dear life was given ‘All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.’ This means that all her lifes happiness is in the grave with the loved one. I felt these lines were very powerful and the repletion put a lot of emphasis on the sadness and created a very downbeat tone.
That verse was the most powerful of the whole poem. It began by suggesting no person has filled the void left by the loved one ‘No later light has lightened up my heaven/No second morn has ever shone for me.’
The lines are very similar lightened up my heaven is a strong image of happiness and then shone for me is a happy image but they are at different ends of the scale.
Late in the poem the negative mood and imagery continue with words such as despair, powerless and destroy. All these words are powerful and have an effect.
‘But when the days of the golden dreams had perished/and even despair was powerless to destroy/Then did I learn how the existence could be cherished/strengthened and fed without the aid of joy.’ I understand this verse to mean that once she realised that the loved one wasn’t coming back she carried on her life like normal but could never be fully satisfied with her life.
The verse that follows uses a variety of interesting words. She used useless to personify passion. She has described one of man’s strongest emotions as useless which is quite a powerful statement to make. This helps the reader understand her pain. In the line after she personifies her soul to pursue her which is an odd statement to make and also she describes her soul as young which gives it the image of being innocent and as the soul is part of the person it makes the person writing the poem/character in the poem seem young and innocent.
Earlier in the poem we had heaven and angels now we have a contrast with the word burning, a negative image which is often referred to as an image of hell.
The final word I fought was interesting in the verse was tomb. Throughout the poem there had been many references to tombs, graves and brown hills (image of a shallow grave). These are all close to the earth and represent being close or as one with nature, being in the ground like they have been eaten up by the earth and taken back by nature.
The final verse of Remembrance the reader is told how painful it is to remember the lost loved one ‘Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain.’
The final line vaguely links with the opening line she asks ‘How could I seek the empty world again?’ The word empty and snow link as snow can often make the world look empty as it covers everything and hides everything but the final line is referring to her loved one as it is empty of people she can love.