Thomas Hardy Poems Notes Essay
The Voice – Thomas Hardy Analysis Notes: €the Voice€? - Thomas Hardy Poems Notes Essay introduction?? Analysis In the poem The Voice? by Thomas Hardy, the speaker of the poem hears what seems to be the voice of his dead wife, Emma. He remembers with nostalgia their time together before her death and in doing so three different moments of their lives is presented: the beginning of their relationship, the latest days of it, and the present. At the beginning, their relationship was based on love, whereas as time passed, the woman changed from the one he had fallen in love with and so a loss of love occurs, which is one of the poem\’s themes.
The present consists of the time after the woman has died when the speaker hears her voice, looks back at their time together and expresses a feeling of grief, regret, guilt, and loneliness. The author establishes a contrast between these particular moments through the use of several different devices. To begin with, the first moment is mostly presented in the second stanza. Unlike the other two, this moment of the couple\’s life was positive, which is shown by the phrase when our day was fair€? on the first stanza. It implies that at one point of their relationship, at the earlier times, their days were good, due to the presence of love.
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On the second stanza, the voice remembers their days of courtship in which he would drive near to the town where the woman waited for him. As he implores the woman to appear to him in the same place and wearing the same attire, a sense of longing and loneliness is created. This attire is described through the vivid visual image original air-blue gown!? By connecting the color blue to the color of the air, actually referring to the sky, a positive connotation is given to the memory of this first moment, emphasizing the fact that those days were full of joy and love.
The existence of an exclamation in that phrase conveys a sense of excitement, related to their earliest days. In this stanza, the tone is hopeful and rigorous as the speaker believes he is hearing the voice of his dead wife. This is shown by the question “Can it be you that I hear? ? Where he considers the possibility of actually being her whom he hears and thus gives him hope of not having lost her forever. The rhythm in this section is fast, as to emphasize Furthermore, the second moment is depicted in the first stanza.
Here, the speaker conveys how much he misses his wife and mentions a time when she had changed from the one who was all to me. Thus, this second moment refers to the times where his wife had changed, we know from the author\’s life that she had begun being sick and had periods of insanity. This leads to a loss of love, which, as a negative moment, contrasts with the positiveness of the second stanza. However, in the stanza in particular he seems to hear the woman calling to him and telling him that she is no longer the woman she had become when they fell out of love, saying that now you are not as you were. €? Hence, it is not as negative a stanza as the third and fourth. In the first line, the alliteration of the a€? ma€? sound on a€? Woman much misseda€? emphasizes how much he misses her as well as the meaning of the word missed. a€? Call to mea€? is repeated in this same line, having the effect of creating an echo. Thirdly, the present of the speaker, although mentioned all throughout the poem, is especially found in the third and fourth stanzas where the speaker is filled with doubt. In the first stanza, his present moment is when he misses her and she calls to him.
In the second stanza, that moment is present in the previously mentioned question on the first line. In both of these stanzas, he is quite confident that what he hears is the voice of his dead wife. However, in the third stanza, the word a€? ora€? introduces an alternative, the possibility that was he is hearing is not his wife. Instead it is only a€? the breeze in its listleness. a€? Thus, both the speaker and the tone become doubtful. The whole stanza is a big question presenting uncertainty as to whether it is really the woman\’s voice. €? Listlenessa€? conveys a sense of weakness, relatThe rhythm slows down, contrasting with the fast rhythm in the previous stanza, due to the doubt, confusion and hesitation the possibility that he is simply imagining her causes in him. Her voice would be an illusion, if it is really the wind he hears, with a haunting effect. Perhaps her voice haunts him in his mind due to his guilt over not having taken care of her during her illness and not having taken advantage of the time they had together towards the end of her life.
If it is not her he hears, it would mean that his wife is gone forever so a sense of despair is created in the speaker and reflected in the tone of the last two lines of the stanza. a€? Dissolved to wan wistlenessa€? implies this death and so her ceasing to exist forever, which would mean she would be a€? heard no more again far or near. a€? Hence, these two phrases mark the end of Emma\’s existence. a€? Wistlenessa€? is an invented word, as it does not exist it emphasizes her ack of existence and may imply that the man could not even find a word for what her non existence means to him as it has a huge effect on him. a€? Wana€? means sick and may refer to his wife\’s state before her death, her illness, that led to the ceasing of her life. a€? Far or neara€? in the last line are opposites, used to emphasize the idea that his wife will not be heard in no place, nowhere, never again. Fourthly, The last stanza is also referring to the man\’s present times. The rhythm in this stanza becomes much less fluent, it is faltering.
This means it is unstable, staggering and refers to a state of confusion and loneliness of the speaker. It coincides with the a€? faltering forwarda€? of the speaker, implying instability, maybe because of weakness caused by the death of his wife. The alliteration of a€? fa€? in this phrase slows down the rhythm. Consequently, the rhythm captures the mood of the speaker in the last moment. The shorter lines and semi colon contribute to this kind of rhythm. The man describes through auditory and visual images what he sees and hears at his present time.
A description of the approaching winter is found through these images, which is a season that matches the man\’s metaphorical lifelessness that resulted from his wife\’s death due to it being one commonly associated with lack of color, cold and usually other negative connotations. Winter is also linked to aging, reaching an old age and so becoming closer to death. It is as if the man was reaching the metaphorical winter of his life, his life is slowing down due to his grief. Due to his state of mind caused by the loss of everything he cared for, the moments seem to drag.
The hyperbaton a€? leaves around me fallinga€? shows this change of season. This alternation of the order of the words, a€? fallinga€? in the end instead of the beginning, can be interpreted as coinciding with the speaker\’s own life turning around due to the death of his wife. The alliteration present in a€? thin through the thorna€? , as it is a strong sound that is being repeated, helps add to the sense of suffering and struggle in the man\’s present. The sound of the breeze in this stanza is depicted through the use of sibilance, the repetitive use of the sound a€? s. a€?
It helps add to the meaning of the stanza, to the possibility that what the man is hearing is the wind. The final line a€? and the woman callinga€? in the present continuous powerfully creates the idea that her voice is still present and probably will be forever in his mind. The idea that he cannot take her out of her mind due to him missing her, feeling guilty and regretful over the latest days of their relationship. To conclude, the author creates contrast between the three different moments of the speaker\’s life not only through the actual content and what occurred in each, but through the changes in rhythm and tone as well