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I Look Into My Glass Analysis



Author: poem of Thomas Hardy Type: poem Views: 25

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I look into my glass,

And view my wasting skin,

And say, "Would God it came to pass

My heart had shrunk as thin!"



For then, I, undistrest

By hearts grown cold to me,

Could lonely wait my endless rest

With equanimity.



But Time, to make me grieve,

Part steals, lets part abide;

And shakes this fragile frame at eve

With throbbings of noontide.






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

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Someone get this old git a glass of spirits he needs to cheer up.

| Posted on 2015-04-27 | by a guest


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i am a 14 year old student, and i quite like this tbh

| Posted on 2015-04-12 | by a guest


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I actually chose this poem to write an essay on. Interestingly, the essay focused on Hardy revealing his emotional state to the readers. What better could any other poem be for that?

| Posted on 2015-01-17 | by a guest


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To the analysis posted on 2012-05-10 I would add another possible sense which is evoked by "throbbings of noontide". It certainly evokes pangs of emotion, as well as the beating of the heart (which is of course physical, but brings out the two previous mentions of "heart" in which it is figurative). One cannot, however, ignore, the reading in which these words refer to an erection, even if obliquely. The poem is about how physical decay in oneself is not matched by an attenuation of one's desires, and I think that the sexual reading of this line is too obvious to be omitted from an analysis of the poem.
I do not agree with the analysis posted on 2012-03-25 which reads "lets part abide" as "to aid time as it kills him off", mainly because there's no apostrophe. "Lets" therefore is not "let us ... abide [i.e. tolerate] time"; rather it is more simply, "[time] lets part [of the person, namely the emotional part] abide [i.e. to continue]".
Dom

| Posted on 2013-08-18 | by a guest


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\"I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,\"
Here Hardy is looking into a mirror and seeing how his skin, in old age, has become drooped and wrinkly. However the \"wasting\" implies the duality of meaning that skin is just the outward signs of the \"wasting\", that is decay, of the body as it nears death from old age.
And say, \"Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!\"
In this case \"God\" is an oath, not a plea to the divine. Further explained in the next two verses, this, succinctly, means that he wishes his \"heart\", symbolic for the emotional part of the human being, had wasted away in the same manner of as his physical body. In example, he would no longer be able to feel emotional pain.
For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
This refers to the previous verse, meaning that if his emotions had wasted away with age then he would be \"undistrest\", or not in pain from, the heartss that had grown cold to him, or other peoples emotions no longer caring about him.
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.
This does not mean he wants to die, rather the term \"wait\" means that well he waits for his physical body to fail completely, he could experience \"equanimity\", or simply he wouldn\'t care about the people who no longer have emotions for him.
But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
Here \"Time\" refers to the passing of the years that have taken him from a youth to an old man, and further \"to make me grieve\" assigns \"Time\" its self with human emotions, namely vindictiveness, saying that it \"Part steals\", that is to say makes his body wither and decay, and \"lets part abide\" meaning his symbolic heart has \"[abided]\" through the passing of time to allow him to still love, feel emotional pain, and CARE that others hearts have grown cold to him. To me this is the most interesting verse in the poem due to the personification of time. I\'d like to think that when he says \"hearts grown cold to me\" he is also referring to Time, which once gave him youth and then age and life-experience, but now shows indifference to his pain.
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.
This verse recaps the essence of the poem. His \"fragile frame\", that is his wasting body, shakes at \"eve\", or the coming of darkness and the end of his life, with throbbings of \"noontide\", that is the middle of the day, or the prime of his life. Here I especially enjoy the use of the word \"throbbings\" which can be interpreted here as pangs, but also evokes images of a beating heart.
In conclusion, the poem is essentially about aging. Specifically how well our body decays with time, our symbolic heart, or emotions, stay as vibrant as ever. Perhaps the poem speaks about what it feels like to grow old and see all your friends die around you leaving you alone, or perhaps more simply it simply speaks of love lost. That is the mark of great poetry, that the reader defines the meaning by their own experiences.

| Posted on 2012-05-10 | by a guest


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In the words \"When God would come to pass, my heart had shrunk as thin!\" Hardy is asking God to kill him because his heart is now as thin as the skin on his face. \"Come to pass\" meaning let him pass away. His heart shrinking so thin is explained by his quote \"hearts grown cold to me\". He is basically saying he is old and has experienced more than enough pain by the effects of love. The last stanza is just Hardy explaining that time is powerful and cannot be stopped, however, he is not trying to stop time from killing him. This is suggested in the quote,\"Lets part abide\", meaning to aid time as it kills him off. \"throbbings of noontide\" is simply the threat (or promise in Hardy\'s opinion)of leaving this life and passing on to the next. :)

| Posted on 2012-03-25 | by a guest


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i hate it when i cant understand some of the poems cause it is required in our english subject to interpret 15 poems =(( it is also hard to interpret poems

| Posted on 2012-02-28 | by a guest


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| Posted on 2012-02-08 | by a guest


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I think Thomas Hardy is very handsome therefore he is so depressed.
P.s: I\'m a 14 year old girl from Ukraine.

| Posted on 2011-05-31 | by a guest


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From what I get from the poem and the previous analysises, this poem is about death. The narrator explains how Time robs us from our friends and beloved ones. It is important to understand that Time, neither lets him live by giving him the fear of death and does not let him die, whşch creates suspence. Time steals away life as a previous analysis stated. The poem with its last stanza, reminds us of old people and how they see death with its clear approach.
Yusuf 16, Turkey

| Posted on 2011-05-31 | by a guest


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I am Elective ı couldn\'t understood the poem and so ı come here to look for comments but ı couldn\'t understand them either please help me
ps: I am seventeen female from Ukraine

| Posted on 2011-05-30 | by a guest


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hardy could of done with some ecstasy, that would of cheered him up.

| Posted on 2010-10-26 | by a guest


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i too strongly disagree with the comment that it \"isn\'t one of his best poems\"
It\'s my favourite poem by thomas hardy in fact, and i really appreciate the subtextually implied meanings behind this poem. I\'m analysing some of his poems for school at the moment and i\'m finding a lot of hardy\'s works to be very deep and meaningful, and i like that in a poet.

| Posted on 2010-10-17 | by a guest


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It wasn\'t obvious at first to me what Hardy meant by the lines:
\"Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!\".
I think Hardy is saying that he would like for his heart to shrink (in much the way that his skin has wasted away) so that he is less able to feel pain. The part that Time is stealing is his physical appearance but it is leaving his heart as is.
I strongly disagree with another user\'s comment that this is not one of his best poems! I consider it one of his finest.

| Posted on 2010-10-01 | by a guest


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It is the austere language of a diffident man, Hardy, marked with stoical fortitude, patient and uncomplaining, that his poem, I Look into My Glass, has an indelibly immediate appeal on the readers mind, in his teaching man to face up to Time unflinchingly. Time, with its power, brings surreptitiously, all things to their withering and rest, the most disagreeable of them all being old age and death. The poem reads:
Hardys distress of an 'endless lonely wait will come to rest only when hearts he loved and those that had loved him, have grown cold to each, in their relationship: It is, in other words, when Time (and his loved ones) tells him that one should now make ones exit together with the pain of existing having become unbrearable, that he can die in peaceful equanimity of poise the equation set right, and scores settled. But for now, Time lets him neither live, nor die; in part, it "steals" away his life ... moment by moment, while letting him in part, to abide too, in growing pain ... day by day. This is his unrelenting grief.
By the use of the words, steals and abide, is conveyed a deeply meaningful sense: quickening, by each arriving moment by the former; while magnified, somewhat haltingly slowed down in days, by the latter. It is as if the poet wants listeners to understand that life is at once abridged happiness and extended suffering.
It is also the intensely moving story of the feebled geriatrics who, in the eve of their lives, with fragile frames are left shaking, wistfully ruing about the throbbings of noontide while waiting in urgent eagerness for it to cease. And this is what lends the poem its poignancy, its universality.

| Posted on 2009-12-15 | by a guest


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I think this poem is very interesting and i am a 15 year old girl studying it at school and to be honest i love it!

| Posted on 2009-12-13 | by a guest


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Thomas hardy should have made the most out of his marriage and concentrated on that rather than sitting on his bum all day writing depressing poems.
-R

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


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i agree. I think Thomas Hardy is a very depressing man and should cheer up!

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


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Sadly. I Look Into My Glass isn't one of his best poems.

| Posted on 2008-12-17 | by a guest




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