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Analysis Of The Poem "Afterwards" By Thomas Hardy

1201 words - 5 pages

'Afterwards,' by Thomas Hardy, is a poem that questions the way that people will look upon the narrator after his death. It centre's around the idea of 'noticing things,' showing the narrators precision and the ambivalence of his neighbours. Hardy gets this across by the techniques that he uses, and the detailed descriptions which show the full extent of what the narrator has noticed. The poem shows the complexity of nature, and describes the cycle of life.The first stanza begins by personifying the 'Present,' which is very appropriate as the poem is concerned by the aliveness of the surroundings that it is describing. The reference to the back gate suggests closure, and is a very precise ...view middle of the document...

' This simile gives a very precise description of the beauty of spring, comparing it to a shiny new fabric, and giving it an almost transparent quality. There are also the connotations of value and exquisiteness.The second stanza moves consecutively from daytime to dusk, using appropriate language to describe the time. Hardy is precise in describing the moment the hawk lands as like 'an eyelids soundless blink.' This has the combined effect of conveying both the visual swiftness of movement, and also the quietness of the moment. He manages to create an eerie tone by using the word 'shades,' which gives the impression that there are many shadows and it is not very easy to see. The eerie tone is continued by the 'wind-warped upland thorn,' in which the plosive 'R' sound adds to the feeling of rustiness. It shows that the narrator does not only appreciate the bright beauty of the day time, but the more mystical quality of the evening, therefore noticing the full complexity of what nature has to offer.The idea of the day wearing on continues in the third stanza, where the first line foregrounds the rest of the stanza by stating; 'If I pass during some 'nocturnal blackness,' which clearly sets the scene for night time. This is carried on by the description of the hedgehog and the moths, which only venture out at night, which creates a mood of peace and tranquility. The idea that the hedgehog travels furtively suggests a sense of purpose, that the hedgehog has a sly, secret mission to complete, which will go unnoticed in the rest of the world. This seems symbolic for the narrator, who seems to be discretely observing everything. The secretiveness would help explain the distance that seems to be between him and the rest of the human beings around him. This distance is further achieved by the fact that there are never any names mentioned, or any suggestion of family or relationships. For example 'one may say,'which is typically impersonal.Stanza four moves from describing the animals that the narrator identifies with, and is more focussed of the narrator and his idea of the people around him. It is different from the previous stanzas in that there is no movement within it, which is appropriate because Hardy is describing the time when the narrator has been 'stilled at last.' The focus switches from the visual nature the narrator is so...

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