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A Wife In London Analysis

Author: poem of Thomas Hardy Type: poem Views: 64

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December 1899


She sits in the tawny vapour
That the Thames-side lanes have uprolled,
Behind whose webby fold-on-fold
Like a waning taper
The street-lamp glimmers cold.

A messenger's knock cracks smartly,
Flashed news in her hand
Of meaning it dazes to understand
Though shaped so shortly:
He--he has fallen--in the far South Land...


'Tis the morrow; the fog hangs thicker,
The postman nears and goes:
A letter is brought whose lines disclose
By the firelight flicker
His hand, whom the worm now knows:

Fresh--firm--penned in highest feather--
Page-full of his hoped return,
And of home-planned jaunts of brake and burn
In the summer weather,
And of new love that they would learn.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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"The postman nears and goes." This might be a reference to her current disregard to outside events as she struggles to comprehend the loss of her husband. I've also seen it interpreted as a means of showing the normality of this kind of tragedy in war.

| Posted on 2017-05-11 | by a guest

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The terms "she" and "he" when talking about the soldier and the wife is deliberate. Hardy did not use names to represent all of the wives that were widowed during the Boer war and all the soldiers that were killed

| Posted on 2017-04-16 | by a guest

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"fog hangs thicker" suggest how her feelings have got stronger and become more overwhelming.

| Posted on 2017-02-13 | by a guest

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"Behind whose webby fold on fold"
web imagery evokes a sense of entrapment and anxiety. As a widow she will be trapped and is now also a victim of war.

| Posted on 2016-11-09 | by a guest

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The rhyme pattern is ABBAB, so, although regular, it does not have a \'sing song\' quality to it. That, together with the changing meter, adds poignancy to the message.

| Posted on 2013-05-05 | by a guest

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A tearfully sentimental poem that is beautifully romantic.

| Posted on 2011-05-23 | by a guest

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\'new love\' might refer to her being pregnant?

| Posted on 2011-03-13 | by a guest

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Our comments on this :
firstly he used pathetic fallacy in his poems to reflect the mood being set and he also uses metaphors and similes to explain how and why he did this. also english is one importttaaanttt

| Posted on 2010-12-07 | by a guest

.: :.

This poem uses pathetic fallacy similar to the popular Walt Whitman poem, \'Come up from the fields father\' which uses pathetic fallacy to show the deterioration and lifelessness of the woman.

| Posted on 2010-09-19 | by a guest

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The euphemistic "fallen" may give the wife some hope whereas the narrator's interjection, 'HIs hand, whom the worm now knows" contrasts sharply and shows the gruesome truth and reality.

| Posted on 2010-06-28 | by a guest

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"Fresh--firm--penned" the -- breaks up the rhythm

| Posted on 2010-06-13 | by a guest

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The image of the fog, and "fold on fold" suggests a feeling of being trapped by the fog.
The little light that is given out offers no heat- the "streetlamp glimmers cold" and "firelight flicker".
This popem is full of despair, gloom and misery.

| Posted on 2010-05-17 | by a guest

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"She sits in the tawny vapour"
Hardy specifically leaves the wife unamed to represent all the woman who are in the same position, waiting for their soldier to return/waiting for news

| Posted on 2010-05-08 | by a guest

.: :.

'tawny vapour' evokes the dull lifeless mood at the beginning of the poem.

| Posted on 2010-04-15 | by a guest

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This poetry is full of figurative devices such as pathetic fallacy, abstract nouns, and emotive personification!

| Posted on 2010-03-08 | by a guest

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the poem explains how the love that the young couple had was strong and close but now its just gone to wate.

| Posted on 2010-02-03 | by a guest

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'His hand, whom the worm now knows' this line is alluring to the waste of life which is now buried in the soil, his hand, that the worm 'now knows'.

| Posted on 2009-06-05 | by a guest

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The parenthesis and elipses show the reader how the wife already knew he was dead without reading the small amount of context in the informal letter.

| Posted on 2009-06-05 | by a guest

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Hardy does not show the wifes feelings maybe because he thinks the readers imagination is stronger than if he wrote it down.

| Posted on 2009-05-18 | by a guest

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Each line is delivered in a punchy, defined manner. It is distinctly 'British', yet conveys the tragic normality of such grief at that time.

| Posted on 2009-03-11 | by a guest

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The harsh contrast in mood between the 3rd and 4th stanzas creates an emphasized sense of waste of the young couples love.

| Posted on 2009-02-22 | by a guest

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the harsh onomatopoeic sound of "knock" breaks the silence.

| Posted on 2009-02-08 | by a guest

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this poem explains the loss felt by a family member of a solider killed during the beor war, it explains how she is defeated and saddend by the message and the delayed post, message from her husband makes the situation worse, this was common during this war and almost everyone knew or had been close to a fallen soldier

| Posted on 2008-11-15 | by a guest

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